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IS     HOME     RULE 




Author  of  "The  Purple  Robe."  "The  Scarlet  Woman/'  etc.  etc. 

WARD,     LOCK    &    CO.,    LIMITED 





Will  you,  who  shewed  me  so  much  kindness 
during  my  stay  in  the  Emerald  Isle,  accept  the 
dedication  of  this  book  ?  Before  my  visit  I  was 
a  stranger  to  you  all,  yet  in  Ulster,  in  Leinster  and 
Munster,  you  seemed  to  vie  with  each  other  as  to 
who  should  give  me  the  warmest  welcome.  Some 
of  you  are  Unionists,  and  some  are  Home  Rulers ; 
most  of  you  are  Protestants,  while  others  are  not 
Protestants  ;  but  whatever  your  opinions  on  political 
or  religious  matters,  each  of  you  tried  to  give  me  the 
information  I  sought,  and  to  let  the  light  shine  on 
dark  places. 

I  cannot  expect  you  to  agree  with  all  my  con- 
clusions ;  many  of  you  will  doubtless  think  I  have 
wandered  far  away  from  the  true  path.  But  this 
I  fain  would  believe  :  all  of  you  will  credit  me  with 
sincerity,  and  with  trying,  in  however  faulty  a 

fashion,  to  express  my  honest  convictions. 



And  you  would  not  have  me  be  unfaithful  to  the 
truth  as  I  see  it,  even  if  by  so  doing  I  might  advocate 
what  you  ardently  believe,  would  you  ? 

With  heartfelt  thanks  for  your  great  generosity, 
and  with  many  happy  memories  of  the  land  of  the 

Yours  faithfully, 


Priors  Corner, 

Totteridge,  Herts. 
March,  1912. 



"!F  Home  Rule  did  not  mean  Rome  Rule,  if  by^X 
granting  Ireland  what  the  larger  part  of  its  popula-      ) 
tion  demands  we  were  sure  that  we  were  not  handing    / 
over  the  Protestants  of  the  country  to  the  mercy  ^ 
of  Rome,  I  should  not  fear  it.    But  there  lies  the    f 
difficulty.    Would  not  Home  Rule  for  Ireland  mean 
the  complete  domination  of   the  country  by  the 
priests,  who  receive  their  orders  from  Rome  ?  " 

These  remarks  were  made  to  me  by  an  intelligent 
man  some  time  ago,  when  we  were  talking  together 
about  the  measure  which,  according  to  all  proba- 
bility, is  about  to  be  brought  before  Parliament  by 
the  present  Government.  That  they  represent  the 
feelings  of  a  large  body  of  J^eogle  in  the  country 
I  have  every  reason  to  believe,  while  from  a 
number  of  letters  I  have  lately  received  from  Ireland 
I  am  convinced  that  the  Protestants  of  that  country 
fear  Home  Rule  as  they  might  fear  a  pestilence. 

Moreover,  if  Home  Rule  means  Rome  Rule,  or 
even  if  it  means  anything  like  a  permanent  increase 
of  Papal  control  over  the  destinies  of  Ireland,  I  am 
certain  it  would  be  the  duty  of  England  to  oppose  it  by 
every  lawful  means.  For  Rome  Rule  means  corrup- 


8     IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

tion,  decadence,  ruin.  In  saying  this,  I  am  moved 
by  no  unkind  feelings  towards  Roman  Catholics 
as  individuals.  I  have  no  doubt  that  among  them 
are  to  be  found  honest,  loyal,  noble  people,  as  they 
are  to  be  found  among  other  religious  communities. 
I  believe  also  that  no  Roman  Catholic  should  suffer 
any  disability,  of  any  kind  whatever,  because  of  his 
faith.  Religious  beliefs  are  sacred,  and  as  long  as 
the  exercise  of  those  religious  beliefs  does  not  interfere 
with  loyal  citizenship,  no  one  should  suffer  in 
consequence.  As  a  convinced  Protestant,  I  must 
grant  to  others  the  liberties  and  privileges  I  claim  for 
myself.  To  make  any  man  suffer  for  his  faith  is 
a  crime,  and  opposed  to  the  very  genius  of  the 
principles  of  Religious  Liberty  which  have  been  such 
a  factor  in  the  making  of  our  Empire. 

^Admiration  for  many  Roman  Catholics  as  in- 
dividuals, however,  must  not  close  our  eyes  to 
the  truth  ;  and  the  piety  and  loveableness  of  many 
Romanists  do  not  nullify  the  truth  that  Rome 
Rule  means  corruption,  decadence,  and  ruin.  We 
must  always  distinguish  between  the  individual  and 
the  system.  Almost  without  exception,  wherever 
Romanism  has  ruled,  decay  and  ruin  have  followed. 
No  one  having  the  slightest  knowledge  of  the  life 
and  history  of  the  nations  of  the  world  can  deny 
this.  Rome  Rule  in  Italy  meant  weakness  and"*\ 
decay,  and  it  was  only  when  Italy  threw  off  the 
shackles  of  Rome's  dominion  that  Italy  became 


re-born  and  prosperous.  Rome  Rule  in  France  has 
meant  a  nation  of  atheists,  Rome  Rule  in  Portugal 
has  meant  revolution,  Rome  Rule  in  Spain  has  made 
what  was  at  one  time  the  most  powerful  nation  in 
Europe  a  byword  and  a  reproach.  Spain  is  a  nation 
struggling  to  be  free,  struggling  ineffectually,  to  rise 
out  of  the  slough  into  which  it  has  sunk  because 
the  Roman  Church,  with  an  iron  hand,  keeps  it 
enslaved  and  submerged. 

This,  as  far  as  I  know,  is  not  denied  by  any  im- 
partial historian,  and  thus  if  in  Ireland  Home  Rule 
meant  Rome  Rule,  it  would  be  the  duty  of  English- 
men to  make  any  Home  Rule  measure  impossible. 

With  Home  Rule  as  a  great  political  measure 
I  have  no  concern  in  this  inquiry.  That  is  a  matter 
for  the  politician  pure  and  simple.  Thus,  in  this 
little  book  I  shall  not  pretend  to  discuss  the  diffi- 
culties of  Irish  finance,  or  of  Irish  representation  in 
Parliament,  or  of  Home  Rule  in  relation  to  the 
Army,  the  Navy,  or  Commerce ;  my  purpose  is  to 
try  and  arrive  at  an  answer  to  a  definite  question — 
Does  Home  Rule  mean  Rome  Rule  ? 

As  in  this  introductory  chapter  I  am  obliged  to 
be  somewhat  personal  and  reminiscent,  I  may  say 
that  for  many  years  I  have  been  unable  to  make  up 
my  mind  on  the  question.  For  many  years  I  have 
in  various  ways  expressed  my  convictions  con- 
cerning the  evils  of  Rome  Rule,  but  I  have  never 
been  completely  convinced  as  to  what  would  be  the 

io    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

result  of  Irish  Home  Rule.  Academically,  I  was 
a  Home  Ruler ;  that  is,  I  believed  in  the  justice  of 
allowing  a  nation  like  Ireland  to  deal  with  purely 
Irish  matters  in  their  own  way,  subject  to  Imperial 
control.  But  when  I  considered  the  details  of  the 
case,  when  I  reflected  that  three-fourths  of  the 
Irish  people  were  under  the  control  of  the  priests, 
and  when  I  remembered  the  attitude  of  the 
Roman  Church  towards  Protestantism,  I  was  afraid ; 
neither  could  I  see  my  way  to  hand  over  a  quarter 
of  the  nation  to  the  tender  mercies  of  a  hierarchy 
which  is  the  sworn  foe  to  Protestant  liberties. 

I  am  stating  these  things,  not  that  I  regard  my 
own  opinions  and  fears  as  of  great  importance,  but 
because  I  have  reason  to  believe  that  they  express 
the  feelings  of  millions  in  our  land,  and  because 
they  are  not  unimportant  when  considered  in  the 
light  of  what  I  shall  have  to  say  later  in  these  pages. 

The  Home  Rule  question  has  now  become  more 
than  a  subject  to  be  dealt  with  in  debating  societies. 
It  is  true  that  at  the  election  which  took  place  at 
the  close  of  1910,  the  Lords'  Veto  Bill  loomed  largely 
in  the  public  press,  and  was  discussed  as  the  main 
issue  on  thousands  of  platforms ;  but  multitudes 
believed  that  behind  this  lay  the  Irish  question. 
Indeed,  Mr.  Balfour  declared  that  in  voting  for 
the  present  Government,  people  were  voting  for 
Home  Rule,  while  Mr.  Asquith  admitted  that  the 
settlement  of  the  Irish  problem  was  an  integral 


part  of  his  policy.  Directly,  therefore,  the  Lords' 
Veto  Bill  was  passed,  even  though  the  National 
Insurance  Bill  became  the  chief  subject  of  discussion 
in  Parliament,  Irish  people  prepared  for  battle. 
Home  Rule  and  anti-Home  Rule  campaigns  were 
arranged,  and  the  nation  as  a  whole  knew  that  this 
thorny  subject  was  again  to  be  foremost.  The 
Nationalists  were  repeating  their  time-worn  faith 
that  Ireland  would  never  be  happy,  never  at  peace, 
never  contented  until  Home  Government  was  granted 
to  them ;  while  the  Unionists  of  Ulster  were 
vehement  in  their  declaration  that,  come  what  would, 
they  would  never  be  subject  to  an  Irish  Parliament. 
In  the  summer  of  1911 1  received  a  letter  from  one 
of  the  Ulster  papers,  asking  me,  in  view  of  an  impor- 
tant visit  from  Sir  Edward  Carson,  to  send  a 
message  from  the  English  Nonconformist  standpoint 
to  help  Ulster  Unionists  in  their  fight.  To  this  I 
sent  no  answer.  I  was  not  convinced  that  Home 
Rule  meant  Rome  Rule ;  moreover,  I  felt  that  my 
letter  might  be  misunderstood.  I  could  not  sub- 
scribe to  much  of  the  Ulster  policy,  neither  did  I 
sympathise  with  some  of  the  reasons  urged  for 
denouncing  the  present  Government.  A  little  later, 
however,  I  received  a  request  from  the  editor  of 
another  Belfast  paper,  asking  me  to  send  through 
its  pages,  and  the  means  it  had  at  its  disposal,  a 
message  to  English  Nonconformists,  urging  them  to 
oppose  any  Home  Rule  measure. 

12    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

In  reply,  I  sent  a  letter,  which  was  widely  quoted 
in  the  Irish  newspapers,  and  which  lies  before  me  as 
I  write.  As  this  letter  brought  me  a  vast  amount 
of  correspondence,  and  led  indirectly,  if  not  directly, 
to  my  writing  this  book,  I  will  quote  certain  parts 
of  it  which  bear  on  the  question  at  issue. 

"  Many  Nonconformists  in  England  are  convinced 
Home  Rulers.  The  idea  appeals  to  their  sense  of 
justice  :  it  also  seems  to  them  that  the  policy  of  the 
majority  in  Ireland  managing  Irish  affairs  is  a 
sound  one.  Another  section  is  entirely  undecided 
what  to  do.  They  are  constantly  hearing  reasons 
why  Home  Rule  should  be  granted  to  Ireland,  but 
they  know  little  of  the  condition  of  Ireland,  nor  of 
the  strong  feeling  in  Ulster  against  it.  They  are 
eagerly  awaiting  light  and  leading  on  the  matter. 
They  are  anxious  that  justice  shall  be  done,  but  they 
fear  Rome  Rule,  and  yet  they  are  not  convinced 
that  Home  Rule  means  Rome  Rule.  Only  a  small 
section  of  English  Nonconformists  are  entirely  con- 
vinced that  Home  Rule  would  be  unsafe  as  a  principle 
and  disastrous  in  its  effects.  What  is  needed  is  a 
complete  knowledge  of  facts.  ...  I  am  constantly 
receiving  messages  from  Ulster  to  the  effect  that 
Home  Rule  would  mean  Rome  Rule.  Convince  the 
English  Nonconformist  of  that,  and  the  thing  is  as 
dead  as  Queen  Anne.  But  he  must  be  convinced ; 
and  here  lies  the  gist  of  what  I  wish  to  say. 

"  Belfast  is  a  rich  city.     Ulster  has  many  speakers 


— eloquent,  learned,  and  enthusiastic.  Let  Belfast 
send  a  large  number  of  its  best  speakers  and  lecturers 
to  England,  and  let  them  teach  us  concerning  the 
inwardness  of  this  question.  Let  them  prove  to 
the  English  Nonconformist,  by  reasoning,  by  facts 
from  history,  and  from  the  very  nature  of  Romanism, 
that  Home  Rule  means  Rome  Rule,  and  no  English 
Parliament  will  dare  to  pass  it.  Threats  will  not  do 
this  ;  wild  talk  about  Ulster  arming  will  not  do  it ; 
but  serious  reasoning  and  statements  of  undeniable 
and  convincing  facts  will  do  it. 

"  Another  thing.  It  is  no  use  to  come  to  English 
Nonconformists  and  abuse  the  present  Govern- 
ment, and  advocate  its  downfall.  They  remember 
too  vividly  the  injustice  heaped  upon  them  by  the 
Tory  party.  They  are  yet  smarting  under  the 
Sectarian  Act  of  1902,  with  all  the  suffering  it 
meant.  ...  If  the  people  of  Ulster  fear  the  priests 
of  Ireland,  English  Nonconformists  have  need  to 
fear  another  kind  of  priest  in  England.  That  is  why 
we  would  support  you  to  a  man  if  we  believed  that 
Home  Rule  would  place  you  more  under  the  Roman 
Church  power.  I  urge  you  therefore  to  send  over 
men  to  educate  us.  ...  We  do  not — cannot — know 
the  facts  of  the  case  as  you  can ;  but  the  English 
Nonconformist  has  a  great  love  for  justice,  and  he 
has  a  strong  hatred  of  priestcraft  in  every  form." 

This  letter,  as  I  have  said,  was  copied  in  the  Irish 
newspapers,  and,  as  I  was  informed,  caused  an 

14    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

amount  of  controversy.  Certain  it  is  that  my  own 
correspondence  greatly  increased,  and  letters  from 
every  part  of  Ireland  poured  in  upon  me  daily. 

A  little  later  I  was  led  to  write  again  to  the  same 
newspaper,  from  which  I  will  take  the  following : — 

"  I  make  bold  to  assert  that  Home  Rule  stands  or 
falls  as  a  great  religious  question.  From  the  purely 
academic  standpoint  the  policy  that  Irish  people 
should  manage  Irish  affairs  seems  just  and  reason- 
able, and  as  such  it  appeals  to  millions  of  people  in 
this  country.  But  at  heart  it  cannot  be  looked 
at  from  the  purely  academic  standpoint.  Every 
student  of  history  and  every  observer  of  the  signs 
of  the  times  know  what  the  claims  of  Rome  are, 
and  what  the  influence  of  Rome  really  is.  Thus  the 
question  arises — Can  English  Nonconformists  vote 
for  the  handing  over  at  least  a  fourth  of  the  Irish 
people  to  the  tender  mercies  of  the  three-fourths, 
which  three-fourths  are  in  the  main  dominated  by 
the  priests  ?  If  it  can  be  proved  that  the  Irish 
Protestants  will  have  just  treatment  by  the  Roman 
section,  then  the  objection  to  Home  Rule,  as  far  as 
the  English  Nonconformist  is  concerned,  in  the 
main  breaks  down.  But  will  they  ?  I  have  no 
word  to  say  against  Romanists  as  individuals,  but 
I  remember  that  the  Romanists  of  Ireland,  as  else- 
where, are  under  a  hierarchy  that  hates  Protestant- 
ism and  which,  according  to  the  very  fundamentals 
of  the  Roman  faith,  must  seek  to  stamp  out  heresy. 


Moreover,  as  Protestantism  is  regarded  as  the  worst 
form  of  heresy,  the  result  seems  clear. 

"  But  it  is  concerning  this  that  we  need  light,  and 
it  was  for  that  reason  I  urged  that  Ulster  should 
send  over  its  most  learned,  its  most  eloquent,  and  its 
most  trusted  advocates.  .  .  . 

"  That  is  why  I  desire  to  lift  the  question  of 
Home  Rule  out  of  the  realms  of  party  politics. 
Make  it  a  great  religious  question,  and  if  you  can 
prove  that  Home  Rule  means  simply  putting  the 
priests  in  power,  and  make  the  English  Noncon- 
formists feel  it,  they  will,  in  spite  of  John  Redmond 
and  his  followers,  force  the  Liberal  Government  to 
drop  it  from  its  programme. 

"  I  notice  in  the  Westminster  Gazette  the  following 
statement  by  Mr.  John  Redmond : — 

'  The  allegation  that  in  Ireland  Protestants  are 
boycotted  because  they  are  Protestants,  and  that 
this  system  of  religious  ostracism  would  be  increased 
under  an  Irish  Parliament,  is  not  only  cruel,  but 
most  offensive,  because  religious  intolerance  is 
repugnant  to  the  feelings  of  Irish  Catholics ;  and, 
further,  it  is  wicked,  because  neither  now  nor  at  any 
other  period  in  their  history,  have  Irish  Catholics 
been  guilty  of  persecution  for  conscience'  sake.' 

"  Now,  these  words  are  true,  or  they  are  false. 
If  they  are  true,  then  much  of  the  Nonconformist  fear 
is  groundless ;  but  if  they  are  false,  they  should  be 
proved  to  be  false.  And  this  should  be  done,  not  by 

16    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

men  who  desire  to  make  party  capital,  but  by  those 
who  have  a  passionate  love  for  truth  and  for  religious 
liberty  and  equality.  Therefore,  let  those  into  whose 
souls  the  iron  has  entered,  who  have  seen  religious 
persecution  with  their  own  eyes,  who  can  give  details 
as  to  names  of  persons,  and  places,  and  dates,  come 
and  tell  us  what  Rome  does  and  is  doing ;  and  let 
them  shew  that  these  things  are  no  accident,  but  the 
natural  outcome  of  the  system  they  fear,  and  which 
dominates  three-fourths  of  the  people  of  Ireland." 

I  apologise  for  quoting  at  such  length  from  these 
letters,  but  I  do  so  for  a  purpose.  They  will  shew 
at  all  events  the  attitude  of  mind  with  which  I 
approached  the  question,  and  they  will  shew  that 
I  was  deeply  anxious  to  get  at  the  truth. 

Hosts  of  letters  poured  in,  but  in  the  main  they 
did  not  answer  the  questions  I  asked.  There  was 
a  multitude  of  words,  but  I  got  little  light.  My 
correspondence,  moreover,  was  very  confused,  and 
often  contradictory.  One  correspondent  sent  me 
two  or  three  cases  of  persecution,  but  did  not  suggest 
that  they  represented  the  general  feeling.  One 
writer  told  me  that  he  saw  nothing  for  it  but  leaving 
the  country  if  Home  Rule  passed,  because  he  feared  re- 
ligious persecution ;  while  another,  a  Unionist,  told  me 
that  he  lived  in  the  south-west  of  Ireland  where  very 
few  Protestants  lived,  that  he  and  his  people  were 
farmers,  and  had  been  for  several  generations,  and  he 
knew  of  no  case  of  religious  persecution.  And  so  on. 


Meanwhile,  numbers  of  people  wrote  saying  that 
if  English  people  only  knew  the  feelings  of  Irish 
Protestants,  if  they  saw  Ireland  as  it  really  was,  they 
would  be  convinced  that  to  break  up  the  Union 
between  England  and  Ireland,  and  to  grant  a 
Parliament  in  Dublin,  would  be  little  less  than 
a  crime.  They  also  urged  that  the  only  way  to 
understand  the  situation  was  to  visit  Ireland,  talk 
with  her  people,  and  to  learn  the  facts,  not  as  they 
are  represented  by  partisan  newspapers,  but  by 
interviews  with  representative  people. 

Accordingly,  I  arranged  to  pay  a  visit  to  the 
Emerald  Isle  and  study  the  question  on  the  spot. 
I  had  for  months  been  reading  such  literature  as  I 
was  able  to  obtain,  bearing  on  the  various  points  at 
issue  and  I  determined  that,  as  far  as  possible,  I 
would  approach  the  subject  with  an  absolutely  open 
mind ;  that  I  would  study  all  sides  of  the  matter ; 
that  I  would  listen  to  the  facts  and  arguments 
adduced  by  representative  people  of  various 
parties,  and  draw  my  conclusions  unfettered  by 
fear  or  favour. 

Perhaps  it  may  be  well  to  reiterate  that  with 
regard  to  Home  Rule  purely  as  a  political  question, 
I  do  not  propose  to  deal.  And  certainly  I  did  not 
have,  neither  have  I  now,  any  thought  of  party 
politics.  I  do  not  possess  the  qualifications  to 
discuss  the  matter  from  the  purely  political  aspect, 
even  if  I  had  the  inclination.  It  is  probable  that  I 


i8    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

shall  have  to  touch  upon  various  points  which  may 
seem  to  encroach  upon  the  domain  of  the  politician, 
but  if  I  do,  it  will  be  only  because  those  points  have 
a  very  vital  connection  with  the  thought  uppermost 
in  my  mind,  "  Is  Home  Rule  Rome  Rule  ?  " 

In  looking  over  my  notes  I  find  that  I  had 
lengthy  interviews  with  at  least  fifty  people. 
These  people  were  not  taken  at  haphazard,  but 
in  nearly  every  case  they  represented  the  best 
thought  of  the  parties  to  which  they  belonged. 
I  do  not  at  the  moment  propose  to  give  their  names, 
although  I  took  careful  note  of  them.  Suffice  to 
say  that  one  is  a  Lord  Mayor  of  a  great  city,  two 
are  members  of  the  -Irish  Privy  Council,  two  are 
perhaps  the  largest  employers  of  labour  in  the 
country,  one  is  a  Roman  Catholic  bishop,  five  are 
editors  of  the  chief  Irish  newspapers,  one  is  an 
ex-priest,  several  hold  high  and  honoured  places 
as  ministers  in  the  Protestant  Churches  of  Ireland, 
four  are  highly-respected  members  of  the  Quaker 
community,  three  hold  positions  on  the  Irish  Councils, 
several  are  magistrates,  some  are  farmers  who 
bought  their  farms  under  what  is  called  the  Wynd- 
ham  Land  -Act,  while  others  are  men  holding  no 
office,  but  who  represent  the  best  thought  of  the 
respectable  citizens  of  the  country. 

I  am  afraid  that  I  saw  more  Unionists  than 
Home  Rulers,  but  that  was  because  it  was  among 
the  Unionists  that  I  found  the  belief  most  strongly 


entertained  that  Home  Rule  meant  handing  over 
the  country  to  Rome,  who  would  never  rest  until 
Protestantism  was  dead.  Besides,  scores  of  people 
had  written  me  from  Ulster  telling  me  that  English 
people  did  not  understand  their  case,  and  I  was 
determined  to  hear  all  they  could  tell  me,  and  to 
try  to  understand  the  force  of  their  arguments. 

Of  course,  I  did  not  confine  my  enquiries  to 
the  Protestant  North,  but  went  from  Ulster  to 
Munster ;  I  also  went  to  Dublin  and  its  environs, 
and  tried  to  understand  the  trend  of  thought  there. 
During  the  whole  of  my  stay  I  found  the  utmost 
courtesy  and  kindness ;  on  all  hands  people  were 
eager  to  give  me  information,  so  that  if  I  do  not 
understand  the  feeling  of  the  country,  it  is  not 
because  I  did  not  hear  a  free  expression  of  opinion. 

Naturally,  I  do  not  claim  a  real  intimacy  with 
Irish  life ;  that  can  only  be  obtained  by  living  in 
the  country,  breathing  the  atmosphere,  and  entering 
into  the  life  of  the  people.  But  I  do  claim  that  I 
honestly  tried  to  find  out  the  truth  concerning  the 
question  which  has  troubled  me  for  a  long  time,  and 
which  gives  the  title  to  this  little  book.  I  also 
tried  to  differentiate  between  prejudice  and  principle, 
between  hearsay  and  fact;  and  while  I  am  by 
training  and  conviction  a  strong  Protestant,  I  tried 
to  take  an  impartial  view  of  the  situation,  and 
to  see  facts  from  the  standpoint  of  those  between 
whose  opinions  and  mine  the  poles  lie. 



IT  may  be  well  here  if  I  devote  a  short  chapter  to 
my    impressions    of    the    Protestant    North ;     for 
while  it  is  largely  visited  by  English  people,  doubt- 
less many  who  read  these  lines  have  no  intimate 
knowledge  either  of  the  great  metropolis  of  Irish 
commerce,   or  of  the  prevailing  characteristics  of 
the  people.    To  read  much  that  is  written  in  the 
public  press  one  might  be  led  to  believe  that  Belfast 
is    identical    with    a    sour,    morose,    blood-thirsty 
Orangeism ;  that  its  people  are  an  unlovely  Puritanical 
set,  who  see  no  good  in  anything  outside  their  own 
pet   creeds,    and  who  in  thought  and  feeling  are 
little  removed  from  the  time  of  the  Battle  of  the 
Boyne,  commemorated  with  so  much   enthusiasm 
even  in  the  present  day. 

Nothing  is  further  from  the  truth.  Certainly,  they 
are  people  of  strong  convictions,  as  I  shall  have  to 
shew  presently.  But  to  call  them  canting,  hypo- 
critical, sour,  morose,  or  unreasoning,  is  libellous 
in  the  highest  degree.  It  is  also  cruel  and  wicked. 



I  write  as  I  found,  and  I  unhesitatingly  assert  that 
nothing  can  be  further  from  the  truth.  Of  course, 
there  are  extreme  men  and  women  among  them, 
as  there  are  everywhere,  and  it  is  undoubtedly  true 
that  the  more  pronounced  Orange  section  still 
entertains  the  prejudices  and  bitter  feelings  that 
were  born  in  the  times  of  bloody  strife  and  persecu- 
tion. But  these  are  only  a  comparatively  small 
section  of  the  community,  and  do  not  represent 
the  larger  life  and  thought  of  the  great  mass  of  the 

Belfast  is  another  Manchester,  but  cleaner  and 
less  smoky.  It  has  fine  public  buildings,  a  splendid 
system  of  tramways,  and  gives  evidence  on  every 
hand  of  a  prosperous  life.  It  has  less  poverty  than 
any  town  of  its  size  in  the  United  Kingdom,  and 
has  less  of  the  slum  life  than  any  great  city  with 
which  I  am  acquainted.  The  Lord  Mayor  quoted  to 
me  with  pride  and  satisfaction  figures  which  shewed 
how  small  was  the  percentage  of  pauperism  in  their 
midst,  and  how  well  behaved  was  the  whole 
community.  He  also  enlarged  upon  the  general 
well-being,  especially  of  the  Protestant  parts  of  the 
city  and  of  the  province,  of  the  smallness  of  the 
number  of  police  in  comparison  with  its  population, 
and  of  the  general  contentment  which  prevailed. 
There  is  no  doubt  whatever  that  his  pride  was 

It   is   impossible  not   to   be  impressed  with  the 

23    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

vigorous,  keen-sighted  life  of  this  metropolis  of 
Northern  Ireland.  I  had  the  privilege  of  being 
present  at  the  meeting  of  the  City  Council  when 
the  Lord  Mayor  was  elected  for  the  third  time  to 
his  position  of  influence  and  honour,  and  at  the 
luncheon  which  followed,  and  as  I  studied  the 
faces  of  the  members  of  the  City  Council  I  could  not 
help  being  impressed.  They  are  strong,  capable, 
virile,  thinking  men,  these  citizens  of  the  North  of 
Ireland.  Men  with  conviction,  and  perseverance, 
and  courage,  and  grit.  They  would  succeed  any- 
where, and  almost  under  any  circumstances.  As  I 
talked  with  them  I  was  reminded  of  the  story  told 
about  Mr.  Gladstone.  It  is  said  that  on  one  occasion 
Huxley  was  staying  at  the  house  of  Darwin  when 
Gladstone  paid  them  a  flying  visit.  When  the 
great  statesman  had  gone,  Huxley  asked  Darwin 
what  he  thought  of  him.  "  Think  of  him  !  "  cried 
Darwin.  "  That  is  a  man  who  if,  unknown  and 
friendless,  were  turned  out  on  Salisbury  Plain  with 
only  one  garment  to  his  back,  would  rise  to  the 
foremost  position  of  the  country." 

I  know  this  has  no  direct  connection  with  the 
subject  I  have  set  out  to  discuss ;  nevertheless,  it 
is  well  for  us  to  understand  the  kind  of  men  with 
whom  we  have  to  deal.  They  are  not  tossed  about 
by  every  strange  wind  of  doctrine.  They  are  men  with 
strong  convictions,  who  march  steadily  forward  to- 
wards the  thing  upon  which  they  have  set  their  minds. 


Possibly  this  is  largely  owing  to  their  religious 
training.  I  should  judge,  although  I  did  not  attend 
any  of  their  churches,  that  they  are  strongly  imbued 
with  the  Calvinistic  theology  of  their  forefathers. 
In  the  main,  they  are  Presbyterians,  for  Presbyterian- 
ism  looms  much  larger  than  any  other  religious 
community  in  the  life  of  the  city.  And  whatever 
the  Calvinistic  theology  has  done  for  the  world, 
it  has  produced  strong,  virile  men.  All  that  grim 
determination  which  characterises  the  Scotch  also 
characterises  their  theological  descendants  in  the 
great  manufacturing  and  trading  city  of  Belfast. 

But  a  more  kind-hearted  and  hospitable  people 
it  would  be  difficult  to  find.  I  went  there  a  perfect 
stranger,  and  yet  each  seemed  to  vie  with  the  other 
in  shewing  me  kindness.  Although  I  did  not  know 
a  single  soul  in  the  city  before  I  went  there,  numbers 
of  people  offered  me  hospitality.  At  least  a  dozen 
homes  were  offered  me,  and  although  I  chose  to 
stay  at  an  hotel,  it  was  in  opposition  to  the  wish  of 
those  for  whom  I  shall  never  have  anything  but 
the  kindest  feelings.  People  further  removed 
from  the  traditional  bigots  of  whom  many  news- 
papers have  spoken  so  much,  I  never  met.  Whether 
Belfast  is  right  or  wrong  in  the  attitude  it  has  taken, 
that  attitude  cannot,  as  far  as  a  stranger  may  judge, 
be  set  down  to  the  narrow  bigotry  or  hatred  to 
their  "  fellow  Christians,"  which  seems  to  be  the 
opinion  of  many. 

24    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Indeed,  I  am  inclined  to  think  there  are  some 
who  possess  a  spirit  of  toleration  and  broad-minded 
charity  which  would  be  very  difficult  to  find  in 
England.  Moreover,  as  it  is  often  said  that  the 
Protestants  of  Belfast  have  no  breadth  of  view,  and 
that  the  Roman  Catholics  are  far  more  tolerant  and 
generous,  I  will  give  one  striking  instance  which 
illustrates  another  aspect  of  the  question. 

The  largest  linen  manufactory  in  Ulster,  perhaps 
in  the  world,  is  known  in  Belfast  as  the  York  Street 
Spinning  Co.  This  company,  at  whose  head  is 
Sir  William  Crawford,  employs  between  5,000  and 
6,000  hands,  many  of  whom  are  boys  and  girls, 
and  who  are  what  is  commonly  known  as  "  half- 
timers,"  as  far  as  their  school  life  is  concerned. 
Among  these  boys  and  girls  are  a  large  number 
of  Roman  Catholics.  The  company,  on  their  own 
initiative,  provided  and  fitted  out  a  day  school  for 
these  half-timers,  and  paid  for  their  education. 
For  some  time  all  went  well.  The  Protestant  boys 
and  girls  were  educated  side  by  sidg  with  the  Roman 
Catholics,  and  no  religious  bias  was  given  in  their 
education.  The  Roman  Catholic  parents  were  to 
all  appearances  perfectly  happy  and  contented  with 
the  arrangement,  as  indeed  it  was  natural  they 
should  be.  The  school  was  good,  and  the  circum- 
stances under  which  they  were  educated  were 
favourable  to  the  well-being  of  the  young  people. 

Then  the  priest  appeared.    He  visited  the  mills, 


and  told  Sir  William  Crawford  that  he  could  not 
allow  Roman  Catholic  children  to  be  educated  side 
by  side  with  Protestants.  Sir  William  urged  in 
reply  that  the  children  were  perfectly  happy,  and 
that  the  results  were  good.  The  priest  replied  that 
he  wished  the  children  to  have  a  Roman  Catholic 
education.  The  employer  then  told  the  priest  that 
as  it  seemed  a  pity  to  withdraw  the  children,  he 
would  be  pleased  to  offer]  facilities  for  the  clergy- 
man of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  to  come  to 
the  schools  and  give  the  children  instruction  in  their 
own  faith.  The  priest  would  not  accept  this.  He 
said  he  wanted  a  Roman  Catholic  atmosphere  for 
children  of  that  faith,  and  nothing  else  would 
satisfy  him.  He  therefore  withdrew  all  the  Roman 
Catholic  children  from  the  school  (note  the  power 
the  priest  must  have  to  be  able  to  do  this),  and  placed 
them  in  a  Romanist  school.  In  spite  of  this,  however, 
this  "  bigoted  Protestant "  continued  to  pay  for 
their  education,  not  diminishing  by  one  jot  or  tittle 
the  amount  he  had  previously  contributed  for  this 

And  yet  Sir  William  Crawford  is  a  Presbyterian, 
and  a  Protestant  of  Protestants.  He  is,  if  I  remem- 
ber aright,  the  son  of  a  Presbyterian  clergyman,  and 
has  a  son  who  is  in  the  Presbyterian  ministry  and 
labouring  as  a  foreign  missionary.  I  wonder  whether 
a  similar  instance  of  broad  charity  can  be  found 
among  those  who  condemn  "  Ulster  bigotry."  I 

26    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

wonder,  too,  whether  in  the  whole  annals  of  the 
Church  of  Rome  an  action  even  remotely  corre- 
sponding to  this  can  be  found  among  its 
convinced  believers. 

Another  thing  should  be  borne  in  mind.  In 
this  city  of  Belfast,  and  indeed  this  is  in  the  main 
true  of  Ireland  generally — at  least,  so  I  was  informed 
in  many  quarters — scarcely  any  of  the  drink  shops 
are  kept  or  owned  by  Protestants  ;  and  that  but  for 
the  numbers  of  people  who  pour  in  from  the  south 
and  west  of  Ireland,  not  only  the  pauper  rate  but 
cases  of  drunkenness  would  be  considerably  reduced. 

On  the  whole,  Belfast  is  a  sober,  God-fearing  city, 
and  the  Protestants  of  Ulster  a  well-conducted,  thrifty 
people.  The  people  retain  many  of  the  traits  of 
their  Puritan  ancestors.  The  Sabbath  is  far  more 
observed  than  in  England,  and  its  people  respond  to 
the  call  of  the  church  bells  as  in  the  days  of  their 
forefathers.  I  am  afraid  that  the  vices  common  to 
all  great  cities  sadden  the  hearts  of  its  best  people ; 
nevertheless,  from  all  I  could  gather,  it  compares 
favourably  with  any  city  of  its  size  throughout  the 
United  Kingdom. 

Two  other  things  strike  one  very  forcibly  in 
visiting  Ulster.  There  are  two  races  there— the 
Irish  and  the  English—for  that  matter,  the  latter 
are  an  amalgam  of  Scotch  and  English.  And,  as 
was  the  case  in  Palestine  two  thousand  years  ago, 
for  all  social  purposes  the  Jews  have  no  dealings 


with  the  Samaritans.  The  Irish  and  the  English 
may  meet  in  business ;  they  may  meet  sometimes 
in  relation  to  political  matters,  but  there  is  practically 
no  social  intercourse  between  them.  The  fact  that 
they  have  lived  together  on  the  same  soil  for  three 
hundred  years  does  not  seem  to  affect  them  ;  and 
nothing  has  eradicated  the  deep  and  vital  distinc- 
tions between  the  two  people.  No  doubt  their  religion 
has  had  a  great  deal  to  do  with  it.  A  thick  and  high 
wall  of  partition  has  ever  existed  between  Protestant 
and  Romanist ;  and  the  English  and  Scotch  portion 
of  the  population  is  essentially  Protestant,  while  the 
Irish  is  essentially  Catholic. 

As  far  as  I  know,  there  have  been  during  the 
centuries  scarcely  any  cases  of  conversion  from  one 
faith  to  the  other.  Those  who  were  sent  to  Ireland 
as  settlers  by  the  British  Government  have  retained 
all  the  characteristics  of  the  land  from  which  they 
came — and  there  seems  no  possibility  of  a  change. 
Indeed,  the  Protestant  portion  of  the  population 
does  not  call  itself  Irish,  although  it  has  been  in 
Ireland  for  hundreds  of  years. 

A  capital  story  is  told  of  an  Irish  doctor  in 
a  London  hospital  expressing  sympathy  with  a 
patient  whose  rich  brogue  at  once  proclaimed  his 
place  of  origin. 

"  You  are  an  Irishman,"  said  the  doctor. 

"  Irishman,"  replied  the  other;  "  I  am  not  an 

28    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

"  But  you  have  the  brogue." 

"  Brogue  ?    That  goes  for  nothing,"  was  the  reply. 

"  But  you  live  in  Ireland  ?  " 

"  Sure,  and  Ireland  is  the  place  where  I  was  born 
and  reared." 

"  How  long  have  you  lived  there  ?  " 

"  All  my  life." 

"  And  your  people  ?  " 

"  Sure,  and  my  people  have  lived  in  Skibbereen 
over  two  hundred  years.  They  were  planted  there 
in  the  time  of  Cromwell." 

"  But  in  that  case,"  said  the  doctor,  "  you  must 
be  Irish." 

"  Never  a  bit  am  I  Irish ;  I  am  English  to  the 

"  How  can  you  and  your  people  live  in  a  country 
for  over  two  hundred  years  and  still  not  belong  to 
that  country  ?  " 

"  Can't  you  see,"  said  the  man;  "  didn't  the  chil- 
dren of  Israel  live  in  Egypt  for  four  hundred  years, 
but  were  they  ever  Egyptians  ?  And  do  you  mean 
to  tell  me  that  my  family,  because  they  have  lived 
in  Ireland  for  two  hundred  years,  are  Irish  ?  No  ; 
we  were  English  when  we  went  there,  and  we  are 
English  now." 

That  story  gives  a  true  idea  of  the  Ulster  Irishman 
in  this  respect.  Nothing  has  ever  broken  down  their 
racial  distinctions.  Nothing  has  ever  destroyed  the 
fact  that  they  are  of  English  origin,  and  they  mean 


to  remain  English.  Perhaps  that  is  one  reason  why 
the  English  portion  of  the  population  so  strongly 
opposes  Home  Rule.  They  fear  that  they  would  be 
in  a  minority  ;  that  they  would  be  governed  by  Irish- 
men with  Irish  ideas,  and  therefore  they  oppose  it. 
This  fact,  also,  must  be  borne  in  mind.  Because  the 
English  and  Scotch  are  intelligent,  thrifty,  vigorous, 
strong,  and  therefore  have  become  prosperous, 
they  look  with  a  degree  of  scorn  upon  the  poverty- 
stricken  and  priest-ridden  Irishman  ;  and  they  have 
a  feeling  of  indignation  at  the  thought  that  they,  who 
have  ever  been  the  predominant  race,  should  have 
their  laws  made  for  them  by  the  people  whom  they 
so  much  despise. 

The  other  fact  is  this.  Protestantism  in  Ireland 
means  Protestantism.  It  is  not  a  hybrid  thing. 
In  this  respect  there  is  at  present  practically  no 
difference  between  the  Episcopalian,  the  Presbyter- 
ian, the  Methodist  and  other  Churches.  For  that 
matter,  all  the  Protestant  Churches  hold  strongly 
together.  Episcopalians  go  to  Wesleyan  schools, 
and  vice  versa,  without  thinking  that  they  are 
sacrificing  any  principle  by  so  doing. 

Moreover,  any  approach  to  what  they  call  popery  is 
repugnant  to  them.  There  are  practically  no  "  high  " 
churches  in  the  Episcopal  Church  of  Ireland.  In 
the  Protestant  cathedrals,  even,  the  services  are  of 
a  most  simple  nature,  and  as  a  rule  there  are  no 
attempts  at  decorations,  or  what  is  called  "  ornate  "  • 

30    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

services.  Consequently,  the  line  of  distinction 
between  Protestant  and  Catholic  is  very  marked 
indeed.  They  say,  and  perhaps  they  say  truly,  that 
living  in  such  close  relationship  with  the  Roman 
Catholic  and  seeing  what  it  has  meant  in  the  life 
of  the  Irish  people,  has  given  them  a  strong  repug- 
nance to  anything  that  savours  of  popery.  If  you 
wish  to  hear  the  High  Church  party  in  England 
denounced,  and  ritualism  laughed  at  as  a  mere  apeing 
of  popery — talk  to  the  Irish  Episcopalian.  He 
scorns  the  very  thought  of  it,  and  proclaims  his 
Protestantism  in  no  uncertain  ways.  Not  even  the 
Presbyterians,  with  all  their  strong  hatred  of  the 
papacy  and  with  all  their  freedom  from  anything  like 
ritualistic  pretensions,  are  more  anti-papal ;  than  the 
Irish  Episcopalian ;  while,  as  for  the  Methodist  and 
the  smaller  communions,  they  are  at  one  with 
the  great  Presbyterian  body  in  holding  fast  those 
principles  which  they  regard  as  the  glory  of  the  nation. 
These  two  facts  help  to  explain  the  antagonism 
of  the  Protestants  of  Ireland — especially  those  of 
Ulster — to  the  thought  of  Home  Rule.  Neverthe- 
less, as  I  have  before  stated,  nothing  is  further 
from  the  truth  than  to  think  of  them  as  sour  and 
bigoted.  They  are,  in  most  respects,  a  broad- 
minded,  charitable  people.  But  in  this  one  respect 
of  hatred  of  popery,  there  can  be  no  doubt  to  them 
it  means  slavery — something  to  be  opposed  as  long 
as  they  have  breath. 


THE      VOICE      OF      ULSTER. 

THERE  was  but  one  topic  in  Ulster  during  the  month 
of  January  in  the  present  year  when  I  visited  it. 
All  other  subjects  were  swallowed  up  in  it,  or  sunk 
into  insignificance  compared  with  the  one  prevailing 
question  as  to  whether  a  law  placing  Ireland  under 
a  Dublin  Parliament  was  to  be  passed.  But  Home 
Rule  as  such  is  not  a  matter  for  discussion ;  the 
day  for  that  is  passed.  The  people  have  made  up 
their  minds ;  they  are  convinced  as  to  the  evil  of 
Home  Rule.  The  rights  and  wrongs  of  the  matter 
are  not  matters  of  debate ;  the  real  thing  at 
issue  is  how  they  are  to  make  their  convictions  felt. 
Everywhere  it  is  the  same.  In  the  streets,  shops, 
hotels,  offices,  clubs,  homes,  the  one  topic  among 
Nationalists  is  "  Will  Home  Rule  be  granted  ?  " 
and  "  How  can  we  overcome  the  opposition  of  the 
Unionists  ?  "  while  among  the  Unionists  there  is 
everywhere  expressed  the  determination  to  fight 
the  thing  to  the  death. 

The  Nationalists,  as  far  as  I  can  gather,  sum  up 

32          IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

their  demand  for  Home  Rule  in  very  few  words. 
"  Why  do  you  want  Home  Rule  ?  "  I  asked  again 
and  again  of  the  Nationalists,  both  in  Ulster  in  the 
north  and  Munster  in  the  south,  and  their  replies 
were  almost  identical — "  We  want  Home  Rule 
because  we  are  Irishmen,  and  we  want  to  govern 
our  country  according  to  Irish  ideas.  At  present 
we  are  under  an  alien  people.  We  are  Irish, 
not  English.  We  are  Catholics,  while  England  is 

They  do  not  seem  to  think  they  will  be  better  off 
under  a  Dublin  Parliament.  They  realise  that  during 
the  last  quarter  of  a  century  much  has  been  done 
for  them.  They  admit  that  England  has  poured 
much  wealth  into  the  nation,  and  that  they  are 
indebted  to  the  British  Government  for  their 
district  councils,  their  means  for  purchasing  their 
own  farms,  and  for  old  age  pensions.  For  the  latter 
boon  they  seem  to  be  especially  grateful,  and  tell  of 
the  contrast  between  the  present  comfort  of  the 
old  people  and  their  one-time  sordid,  cankering 
poverty.  They  own,  too,  that  Ireland  is  on  the  way 
to  being  prosperous. 

'  Wyndham's  Land  Act,"  said  one  farmer  to  me, 
"  has  changed  the  face  of  the  country.  Instead  of 
farmers  being  crushed  and  starved,  they  can  now 
hold  up  their  heads  with  pride  because  they  feel 
they  have  a  stake  in  the  country  they  love,  and 
because  they  can  make  a  decent  living." 


But  this  does  not  satisfy  them. 

'  We  want  to  govern  our  own  country,"  they  said 
again  and  again,  in  answer  to  my  questions. 

"  Even  if  you  are  worse  off  ?  "  I  urged. 

"  Sor,"  said  one  man  to  me,  "  sure  and  I  don't 
believe  we  shall  be  worse  off.  But  even  if  we  are 
not  so  well  off,  we  still  want  to  govern  our  own  land 
in  our  own  way." 

Against  this  the  Protestants  of  Ulster  are  in  the 
main  deadly  opposed ;  they  dread  the  thought  of 
Home  Rule ;  they  hate  it,  and  they  vow  that  they 
will  fight  it  to  the  death. 

Their  objections  are  in  the  main  three.  There 
is  first  the  financial  objection.  They  are  profoundly 
convinced  that  to  place  Ireland  under  a  Dublin 
Parliament  would  ruin  them  financially,  and  destroy 
the  prosperity  which  through  the  centuries  has  been 
built  up.  The  second  objection  is  that  of  race. 
They  say  they  are  Englishmen  and  Scotchmen, 
the  sons  of  the  men  who  were  sent  to  Ireland 
centuries  ago  for  a  specific  purpose.  They  have 
fulfilled  the  purpose  for  which  they  were  sent ;  they 
are  children  of  the  mother  country ;  and  they  refuse 
to  be  governed  by  the  Irish  people.  But  their 
main  objection  is  something  deeper,  something  more 
vital ;  they  are  Protestants,  and  Home  Rule  means 
Rome  Rule,  and  they  set  their  teeth  together  and 
vow  that  never  will  they  be  governed  by  Rome. 

"  Now  tell  me,"  I  asked,  "  what  are  your  reasons 


34    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

for  believing  that  if  Home  Rule  is  granted  you  will 
be  governed  from  Rome  ?  "  This  question  was  asked 
of  the  editor  of  an  important  newspaper. 

"  Well,  to  begin  with,"  was  the  reply,  "  I  need 
not  tell  you  about  the  aims  and  purposes  of  Rome. 
Never  was  the  Church  of  Rome  more  aggressive, 
never  was  its  attitude  so  ultramontane  as  to-day, 
and  Rome  hates  Protestantism  with  a  deadly  hatred. 
Romanists  are  jealous  of  our  prosperity,  jealous  of 
whatever  power  we  may  possess.  They  regard 
us  as  trespassers  in  their  land,  they  feel  towards  us 
exactly  as  the  Romanists  of  Ireland  felt  towards 
our  forefathers  in  the  time  of  James  II.  You 
accuse  the  Orangemen  of  gloating  over  the  Protestant 
victories  at  the  time  of  the  battle  of  the  Boyne,  but 
the  Roman  Church  remembers  those  days  too,  and  it 
vows  that  it  will  be  revenged.  To  the  ecclesiastical 
mind  Protestantism  was  born  in  hell,  and  it  will 
never  rest  until  all  Protestants  are  driven  from 
the  land." 

"  What  proof  have  you  of  this  ?  "  I  asked. 

"  Proof !  "  was  the  reply.  "  I  have  made  it  my 
business  to  read  the  newspapers  of  Ireland  for 
fifteen  years,  and  I  have  made  myself  acquainted 
with  the  opinions  expressed  not  only  in  the  secular 
press,  but  in  the  Catholic  journals.  In  those  Catholic 
journals,  the  mind  of  the  Church  is  writ  large. 
I  tell  you,  you  have  no  idea  in  England  of  the 
purposes  and  power  of  the  Roman  Church.  I  have 


lived  in  England  for  years,  and  I  know.  There 
the  Church  is  polite  and  comparatively  apologetic, 
but  here  it  is  dictatorial,  aggressive,  blatant.  It 
rules  with  an  iron  hand.  Besides,  as  you  very  well 
know,  the  motto  of  Roman  Catholicism  is  Semper 
Eadem.  It  never  alters." 

"  But  give  a  concrete  example." 

"  Well,  here  is  one.  The  Jesuits,  as  you  know, 
are  a  tremendous  power  in  the  Church  generally, 
while  in  Ireland  they  are  everywhere.  Here  is  an 
extract  from  Catholic  Progress,  a  paper  edited  by 
a  Jesuit :  '  The  woes  of  Ireland  are  due  to  one 
cause — the  existence  of  Protestantism.  The  ancient 
Catholic  churches  are  still  in  Protestant  hands. 
Would  that  every  Protestant  meeting-house  were 
swept  from  the  land.  Then  would  Ireland  recover 
herself.'  " 

"  But  a  stray  paragraph  from  a  newspaper  proves 
nothing  ?  " 

"  That  may  be,  but  such  paragraphs  may  be 
multiplied  by  the  score.  Besides,  you  cannot  live 
in  the  country  without  realising  that  this  is  the 
general  feeling  of  the  hierarchy.  You  see  Ireland 
is  the  most  Roman  Catholic  country  in  the  world. 
Nowhere  have  its  priests  such  power,  nowhere, 
unless  you  go  to  some  of  the  South  American 
republics,  are  the  people  so  obedient  to  the  will 
of  the  Church.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  Ireland  is 
dominated  by  the  Vatican  now." 

36          IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

This  is  a  sample  of  many  conversations  I  had  with 
leading  people  in  Ulster,  and  it  was  on  these  lines 
that  I  made  my  enquiries.  I  found  everywhere, 
that,  according  to  the  convictions  of  Ulster,  the 
Church  was  dominating  all  life,  civil  and  religious; 
that  its  power  was  felt  everywhere,  and  that  no  legis- 
lation could  take  place  without  the  Church's  sanction. 

"  Talk  about  a  Dublin  Parliament  ruling ! " 
cried  one  prominent  citizen  to  me,  "  it  would  not 
rule.  A  Dublin  Parliament  would  be  the  instrument 
of  the  Church.  Just  think  of  it !  Protestants  would 
only  be  able  to  send  representatives  from  Ulster, 
for  although  there  are  a  good  number  of  Protestants 
in  the  south  and  west  of  Ireland,  they  would 
nowhere  be  numerous  enough  to  return  a  member. 
Thus,  supposing  there  were,  say,  sixty  members  in 
the  Irish  Parliament,  we  should  have  only  a  handful. 
But  that  would  not  be  the  worst  of  it.  All  the 
Roman  Catholics  would  be  the  nominees  of  the 
Church,  and  the  creatures  of  the  Church.  If  any 
of  them  dared  to  take  an  independent  stand  they 
would  be  crushed." 

"  How  crushed  ?  " 

"  Just  as  Parnell  was  crushed.  Just  as  any 
man  who  dares  to  assert  his  own  opinions  to-day 
is  crushed.  Don't  you  realise  the  power  of  the 
Church  ?  Even  now  Rome  rules  and  controls. 
You  may  pass  laws,  but  the  Church  rides  through 
your  Acts  of  Parliament  with  a  coach  and  four." 


As  this  question  seemed  important,  I  laid  special 
emphasis  upon  it,  and  the  following  is  what  I  heard 
on  every  hand.  And  will  the  reader  please  remember 
that  I  am  not  for  the  moment  expressing  any  opinion 
of  my  own,  but  the  prevailing  convictions  of  the 
vast  majority  of  Protestants  of  Ireland?  What 
conclusions  I  was  led  to  will  be  given  later,  after  I 
had  heard  and  sifted  the  evidence  on  all  sides. 

"  How  does  the  Church  of  Rome  rule  to-day  ? " 
I  asked. 

"  In  this  way,"  was  the  reply  (and  here  I  will 
summarise  what  was  said  to  me  especially  in  Ulster 
and  Dublin).  "  First,  take  your  Lord  Lieutenant 
and  Chief  Secretaries  for  Ireland.  You  boast  that 
they  are  Protestants,  but  they  take  their  orders 
from  Rome.  What  happens  when  a  new  Lord 
Lieutenant  or  Chief  Secretary  is  appointed  ?  They 
want  to  get  along  with  as  little  friction  as  possible, 
so  that  their  reign  may  be  spoken  of  as  peaceful 
and  prosperous.  To  do  this  they  must  make  terms 
with  Rome,  for  if  they  offend  the  Roman  prelates, 
their  days  are  numbered.  Accordingly  they  make 
friends  with  the  Mammon  of  Unrighteousness. 
They  go  to  Archbishop  Walsh  and  Cardinal  Logue, 
and  say, '  What  do  you  want  ?  '  They  place  them- 
selves under  the  dictation  of  the  Roman  hierarchy." 

"  But  what  proof  have  you  of  this  ? " 

"  Proof !  You  can't  live  in  Ireland  and  have 
your  eyes  open  without  seeing  it.  Of  course  there 

38    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

have  been  one  or  two  Irish  Secretaries  who  have  been 
strong  enough  to  take  their  own  line,  but  they  are 
very  rare.  John  Morley,  for  example,  was  a  strong 
man,  and  meted  out  even-handed  justice,  as  a  con- 
sequence no  man  is  more  respected  among  the  Irish 
loyalists  than  he ;  but  the  rest  of  them,  especially 
the  present  Irish  Secretary,  have  been  in  the  main 
at  the  beck  and  call  of  the  papal  representatives. 
Talk  about  your  present  Government  being  Liberal 
and  Nonconformist !  It  is  the  tool  of  the  papacy." 
"  Still  you  have  not  given  proof,  only  opinions." 
"  They  are  more  than  opinions,  they  are  con- 
victions after  years  of  experience  of  Romish  rule. 
Take,  for  example,  the  Irish  Councils  !pill  of  1906. 
You  will  remember  that  the  present  Irish  Secretary 
brought  it  before  Parliament.  This  Irish  Councils 
Bill  had  one  supreme  merit :  it  meant  the  beginning 
of  something  like  a  popular  government  for  the 
schools.  Well,  naturally  the  Minister  in  charge 
would  not  bring  in  such  a  Bill  without  first  consult- 
ing Redmond  and  the  other  Irish  members,  and 
they  gave  it  their  blessing.  What  happened  ? 
After  the  Bill  was  brought  before  Parliament, 
Redmond  and  others  came  back  and  laid  it  before 
the  Convention,  which  is  a  body  ruled  by  the 
ecclesiastics.  The  result  was  inevitable  :  the 
Church  killed  it,  and  the  Bill  was  buried.  I  don't 
say  it  was  perfect,  but  that  is  not  the  point.  The 
Church  did  not  want  it,  and  the  Church  killed  it. 


"  Then  take  the  question  of  Education.  Possibly 
you  do  not  understand  our  system.  Broadly  speak- 
ing, it  is  this.  The  schools  of  Ireland  are  what  is 
called  National.  There  are  five  classes  of  schools, 
the  Roman  Catholic,  the  Episcopalian,  the  Presby- 
terian, the  Methodist,  and  the  Model  schools ; 
and  the  priest  or  clergyman  is  the  manager  of  the 
schools.  The  Church  has  to  support  the  fabric  of 
the  schools  and  the  State  pays  for  all  the  teachers. 
The  Presbyterian  and  the  Methodist  have  a  com- 
mittee who  work  with  the  clergyman  in  the  manage- 
ment of  the  schools,  but  in  the  eyes  of  the  law  the 
clergyman  is  responsible  for  the  employment  and 
dismissal  of  teachers  as  well  as  for  the  general 
management.  In  the  Roman  Church  the  priest 
is  the  sole  authority.  Thus  we  have  in  Ireland  no 
less  than  6,000  priests  appointed  managers  of  6,000 
National  schools,  with  from  7,000  to  8,000  teachers 
absolutely  under  their  control.  They  receive  the 
State  grants  and  they  pay  the  teachers.  In  those 
National  schools  it  was  passed  by  Act  of  Parliament 
that  no  religious  emblems,  such  as  Roman  Catholic 
pictures  or  crosses,  should  be  seen.  You  see  in 
certain  districts,  where  Roman  Catholics  are  in  such 
a  tremendous  majority,  it  is  almost  impossible  for 
Protestant  schools  to  exist,  and  therefore  Protestant 
children  have  to  attend  Romanist  schools.  As  a 
consequence  it  was  thought  right  that  no  attempt 
at  proselytising  in  any  form  should  take  place.  In 

40    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

John  Morley's  days  this  was  strictly  adhered  to,  and 
no  emblem  of  any  sort  appeared  ;  but  in  later  years 
we  are  constantly  hearing  reports  that  religious 
emblems  appear  in  the  Roman  schools  in  spite  of 
the  law,  and  that  their  children  are  taught  to  pay 
homage  to  them. 

"  Then  there  are  many  schools  in  which  nuns  are 
the  teachers.  These  nuns,  of  course,  receive  no 
salaries,  yet  the  priests  receive  the  State  subsidies 
as  though  they  were  paid  teachers.  Where  does 
this  money  go  ?  " 

"  But,"  I  urged,  "  assuming  that  all  this  is 
a  correct  description,  it  happens  under  the 
Union.  How  would  you  be  worse  under  Home 
Rule  ?  " 

"  If  these  things  are  done  in  the  green  what  will 
happen  in  the  dry  ?  "  was  the  reply.  "  At  present 
the  English  Government  does  give  some  semblance 
of  safety,  but  what  will  it  be  when  the  Government 
is  immediately  under  the  control  of  the  Church  ? 
But  go  a  little  further,  and  it  will  shew  you  how 
we  are  governed  by  Rome.  The  National  Board  of 
Education  established  a  training  college  for  the 
training  of  teachers,  Protestant  and  Catholic  alike. 
The  training  was  good,  it  was  healthy,  and  there  was 
no  suggestion  of  religious  bias.  Well,  what  hap- 
pened ?  The  Church  refused  to  appoint  teachers 
who  had  been  trained  at  this  college,  and  she 
obtained  Government  grants  to  establish  no  less 


than  five  training  colleges  of  her  own,  under  the 
management  of  the  priests.  You  talk  about  the 
days  of  endowment  of  churches  being  over  !  What 
is  that  but  endowing  the  Roman  Church  ?  You 
are  paying  for  the  advancement  of  the  Roman 

"Then  look  for  a  moment  at  the  Model  Schools. 
They  were  established  with  the  consent  of  the  priests. 
Their  chief  characteristic  was  that  Protestant  and 
Romanist  could  be  trained  side  by  side.  Presently, 
however,  the  Church  declared  that  the  Model 
Schools  did  not  '  make  good  Catholics,'  and  so  the 
Church  killed  them.  Model  Schools,  except  in  very 
rare  cases,  have  ceased  to  exist. 

"  Go  a  little  further,  and  you  will  see  the  power 
of  the  Roman  Church  in  Ireland.  As  you  know, 
what  were  called  the  Queen's  Colleges  were  estab- 
lished amongst  us.  They  were  noble  institutions, 
and  did  their  work  on  unsectarian  and  liberal  lines. 
But  they  were  not  under  priestly  management,  and 
so  the  Church  disapproved  of  them.  What  followed  ? 
They  were  killed. 

"  Take  another  instance,  Years  ago  the  May- 
nooth  College  received  £8,000  a  year  from  the 
Government.  Well,  that  sum  was  increased  to 
£26,360  a  year  on  the  pretext  that  there  was  no 
provision  for  the  higher  education  of  the  Roman 
Catholic  laity.  What  followed  ?  Immediately 
afterwards 'Maynooth  College  closed  her  doors  to  all 

42    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

but  candidates  for  the  priesthood.  But  the  grant  goes 
on.  Think  of  it !  A  Protestant  country  is  giving 
this  huge  sum  of  money  yearly  to  Maynooth  College, 
which  exists  only  to  train  priests.  Moreover,  the 
education  given  is  of  the  most  obscurantist  and 
ultramontane  nature,  while  you  quietly  fold  your 
hands,  allow  these  things  to  continue,  and  then 
promise  Home  Rule,  which  will  more  than  ever  place 
the  country  under  the  control  of  Rome  ! 

"  A  year  or  two  ago  you  passed  the  Irish  University 
Act.  Your  Parliament  put  in  all  sorts  of  clauses 
safeguarding  the  Protestants,  and  making  sectarian- 
ism impossible.  But  the  British  Government  did 
not  realise  the  power  of  the  Church  of  Rome. 
Cardinal  Logue,  who  is  one  of  the,  if  not  the,  leading 
Catholic  dignitary  in  Ireland,  and  speaks  for  the 
papal  hierarchy  more  truly  than  any  other  man, 
when  speaking  at  St.  Mary's  College,  June  6,  1911, 
told  the  world  what  the  Romish  Church  means  to 
do  and  how  she  regards  the  Act.  He  says  :  '  Now 
there  is  an  opportunity  for  the  Catholic  laymen  of 
Ireland.  They  have  now  an  opportunity  of  receiving 
a  good  university  education,  in  which  at  least  they 
will  be  exposed  to  no  danger.  There  is  no  doubt 
whatever,  England  never  gave  us  a  boon  that  they 
did  not  put  a  crook  in.  They  always  tried  to  do 
something  to  introduce  the  drop  of  bitterness  into 
the  sweetest  cup  that  ever  was.  That  is  precisely 
what  they  did  in  giving  us  this  new  university. 


They  gave  what  they  hoped  to  be  a  pagan  university ; 
but,  please  God,  we  will  turn  it  into  a  Catholic 
university.  They  have  brought  a  Mohammedan 
institution  into  the  country,  but  turn  loose  upon  it 
a  lot  of  fine  young  Irish  Catholics,  and  they  will 
make  it  a  Christian  institution.  That  is  what  we 
will  do  with  this  new  university.  No  matter  what 
obstacles  the  Nonconformists  of  England  may  have 
inserted  in  the  constitution  of  the  university  to 
keep  it  from  being  made  Catholic — we  will  make 
it  Catholic  in  spite  of  them?  ' 

"  That  is  undoubtedly  strong  language,"  I  replied, 
"  but  is  not  Cardinal  Logue  somewhat  of  an  orator, 
and  does  he  represent  the  mind  of  the  Church  ? 
Has  anything  been  done  on  the  lines  he  has  sug- 
gested ?  " 

"  Done  !  Think  of  the  present  state  of  things. 
You  will  of  course  remember  the  safeguards.  For 
instance,  when  the  Bill  was  in  Committee,  and  during 
the  discussion  of  its  financial  clauses,  this  amendment 
was  moved : 

"  '  Provided  that  no  part  of  the  moneys  authorised 
by  the  resolution  shall  be  used  or  applied  for  the 
purpose  of  denominational  education.' 

"  In  the  discussion  of  this  amendment  the  then 
Attorney-General,  Mr.  (now  Lord  Justice)  Cherry, 
who  was  in  charge  of  the  Bill  on  behalf  of  the 
Government,  said — 

"  '  The  honourable  member  has  declared  there  was 

44    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

nothing  in  the  amendment  which  was  contradictory 
to  the  declaration  of  the  Chief  Secretary  when  he 
said  that  no  portion  of  this  money  would  be  applied 
to  denominational  purposes  ki  Ireland.  That  decla- 
ration was  binding  upon  the  Chief  Secretary  and 
the  Government.  The  pledge  which  his  right  honour- 
able friend  the  Chief  Secretary  gave  on  a  previous 
occasion,  applied  both  to  the  Charter  and  to  the  Bill, 
and  both  to  the  college  and  the  university  itself. 
There  was  no  intention  in  the  remotest  degree  on 
the  part  of  the  Government  to  violate  that  pledge.' 

"  Now,  that  safeguard  is  duly  recorded  in  Hansard. 
Can  anything  be  plainer  or  more  binding  ?  That  is, 
moreover,  one  of  the  safeguards  which  Cardinal 
Logue  sneered  at  and  defied.  Well,  what  has  been 
done  in  this  university  which  was  to  be  undenomina- 
tional ?  First,  Archbishop  Walsh,  one  of  the  lead- 
ing Roman  Catholic  prelates  in  Ireland,  was  made 

"  Second,  this  same  Archbishop  has  demanded 
that  a  chapel  for  Roman  Catholics  attending  its 
Dublin  College  shall  be  built  out  of  the  university 

' '  Third,  the  philosophy  taught  in  its  Dublin  College 
is  exclusively  the  philosophy  (that  is,  ecclesiastic 
and  mediaeval)  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church. 

"  And  fourth,  Maynooth,  which  I  have  just  said 
is  a  college  exclusively  for  the  training  of  priests, 
is  affiliated  with  the  university. 


"  Now,  then,  think  of  what  those  four  points 
mean,  and  then  ask  whether  Cardinal  Logue  was 
not  right  when  he  made  his  boast.  Why,  the 
University  Act  was  only  passed  about  two  years  ago, 
and  yet  see  what  they  have  done.  As  I  remarked 
before,  the  Roman  Church  can,  and  will,  drive  a 
coach  and  four  through  any  Act  of  Parliament  you 
may  pass,  and  laugh  at  you  for  being  simpletons." 

"  Certainly  you  present  a  strong  case,"  I  could  not 
help  saying. 

"  Strong  case  !  I  could  go  on  for  hours.  You 
see,  the  basic  ground  for  our  opposition  is  religion. 
We  Protestants  are  your  brothers  in  faith,  and  in 
our  love  for  religious  freedom.  And  Rome  is  the 
enemy  to  that  freedom.  We  may  be  called  in- 
tolerant because  we  are  so  determined  in  our  opposi- 
tion, but  it  is  because  we  know  what  Rome  is. 
If  Ireland  were  all  Protestant,  or  all  Roman  Catholic, 
the  question  would  assume  an  entirely  different 
aspect,  but  it  is  not.  We  form  a  fourth  of  the 
population,  and  I  do  not  say  it  boastfully,  but  we 
form  the  prosperous,  the  intelligent,  the  educated, 
the  virile  portion  of  the  population.  That  is  why 
we  absolutely,  refuse  to  be  placed  under  a  govern- 
ment which  from  the  very  nature  of  the  case  must 
be  dominated  by  the  Roman  hierarchy.  For  you 
must  understand  that  while  the  Roman  Catholic 
people  of  Ireland  are  poor,  the  Roman  Church  in 
Ireland  is  one  of  the  wealthiest  corporations  in  the 

46    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

world.  It  is  a  matter  of  common  knowledge  that 
the  Roman  Catholic  Archbishop  of  Dublin  commands 
more  wealth  than  any  man  in  Ireland,  and  it  is 
freely  said  that  he  could  break  two  of  the  largest 
banks  in  Ireland  by  a  stroke  of  his  pen." 

"  And  does  the  power  of  the  Roman  Church  press 
hardly  on  the  Protestants — that  is,  in  a  direct  way  ?  " 

I  asked  this  question  of  one  of  the  leading  men 
in  the  Presbyterian  Ministry,  a  man  who  had 
occupied  the  highest  position  in  that  Church. 

"  Press  hardly !  "  was  his  reply.  "  Here  is  an 
experience  of  my  own.  I  had  need  to  enlarge  the 
school  of  which  I  am  manager.  This  enlargement 
would,  we  estimated,  cost  about  £500.  I  therefore 
made  my  appeal  to  the  proper  quarter,  and  sub- 
mitted the  necessary  plans.  The  Government 
official  went  into  the  case  and  reported  that  he  was 
perfectly  satisfied  as  to  our  needs.  He  brought 
the  necessary  documents  for  me  to  sign,  and  told  me 
that  the  matter  would  go  through  without  delay. 
I  told  him  that  we  would  not  tax  the  generosity  of 
the  Government  too  far,  and  that  we  would  try  and 
raise  £200  out  of  the  £500  ourselves,  thus  leaving  only 
£300  for  him  to  obtain.  As  I  said,  I  signed  all  the 
papers,  and  I  thought  I  should  soon  receive  the 
money.  That  was  years  ago,  but  I  have  never 
received  the  money  to  this  day.  Now,  then,  for  the 
other  side  of  my  story.  A  long  time  after  I  had 
made  my  application,  a  Roman  Catholic  priest  in 


this  same  city  made  an  appeal  to  the  Government 
for  a  very  large  sum.  His  case,  in  my  judgment, 
was  not  nearly  so  urgent  as  ours ;  but  his  money 
came  soon,  and  his  buildings,  costing  several 
thousand  pounds,  are  erected.  That  is  how  the 
power  of  the  Roman  Church  is  felt." 

I  give  this  story  for  what  it  is  worth.  Certainly 
I  had  it  at  first  hand  from  a  minister  holding  a  high 
place  in  the  Presbyterian  Church,  and  the  gentleman 
who  was  with  me  when  he  told  the  incident  spoke 
of  him  as  a  man  of  stainless  honour.  Moreover, 
this  narrative  was  given  to  me  as  indicating  a  trend 
of  things. 

"  And  do  you  mean  to  say  that  the  priest  has  as 
much  power  over  the  peasants  as  has  been  indicated 
by  certain  sections  of  the  press  ?  " 

I  asked  this  question  of  the  editor  of  one  of  the 
principal  daily  papers  in  Dublin. 

"  Let  me  give  you  an  idea,"  was  the  reply.  "  I 
remember  being  at  an  election  in  a  town  in  the 
south-west  of  Ireland.  I  saw  the  priests  bring  in 
the  peasants  from  the  country  places  to  vote  as 
though  they  were  a  flock  of  pigs.  Some  of  these 
poor  people  did  not  behave  in  a  way  that  pleased 
their  spiritual  fathers,  and  I  saw  the  priests  kick  and 
cuff  them  as  though  they  were  snarling  dogs. 
Then  afterwards  I  saw  these  same  people  kiss  the 
hand  that  had  cuffed  them.  That  is  no  fairy  story. 
I  saw  it  with  my  own  eyes,  and  these  are  the  people, 

48    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

priests  and  people  alike,  who  will  be  our  rulers  under 
a  Home  Rule  Parliament." 

The  following  incidents  were  also  told  me  by  a 
member  of  the  Irish  Bar  as  indicating  a  state  of 
things  that  must  make  any  man  pause.  Many  of  the 
details  were  witnessed  by  my  informant  who  was 
professionally  interested  in  the  case.  In  Westport, 
county  Mayo,  a  colporteur,  a  graduate  of  a  Scotch 
university,  went  to  a  shop  and  sold  one  of  his 
magazines.  Shortly  after  a  priest  entered  and  saw 
the  magazine.  He  asked  the  shopkeeper  where  it 
came  from.  On  being  told,  he  rushed  out  of  the  shop, 
found  the  colporteur,  and  kicked  and  maltreated 
him.  The  colporteur  at  length  escaped  under 
police  protection.  The  priest  went  off  proudly. 
After  some  delay  there  was  a  prosecution.  The  priest 
went  into  the  court,  which  was  presided  over  by  a 
paid  magistrate  and  a  local  publican,  attended  by 
bands  of  music,  and  people  who  came  from  the  whole 
countryside.  It  was  a  sort  of  triumphal  procession. 
When  the  case  was  tried,  the  facts  were  not  con- 
troverted, but  the  defence,  which  was  entrusted  to 
the  present  Lord  Chancellor  of  Ireland,  pleaded 
provocation  through  an  article  in  the  magazine 
that  criticised  the  claims  of  the  Virgin  Mary  to  be 
worshipped.  The  result  of  the  trial  was  that  the 
paid  magistrate  wished  to  convict  the  priest,  and 
the  local  magistrate  (the  publican)  wished  to  acquit, 
and  in  the  end  the  priest  went  off  in  a  renewed 


triumphal  procession,  while  the  colporteur  was 
smuggled  out  of  the  town  by  the  police." 

This  same  story,  I  may  say,  was  afterwards 
related  to  me  by  a  minister  who  lived  in  the  district, 
and  attested  to  its  truth. 

"  But,"  I  asked,  "  was  there  no  public  protest  ? 
Surely  the  public  spirit  of  the  place  would  drive  the 
priest  out  of  the  parish  ?  " 

"  Public  spirit !  "  was  the  reply.  "  There  is  no 
public  spirit  in  the  rural  districts  of  Ireland.  The 
priest  rules,  and  no  one  dares  to  touch  him.  Why, 
in  relation  to  this  case  I  spoke  privately  to  several 
Roman  Catholics,  and  they  told  me  they  were 
tempted  to  rush  on  the  priest,  and  pull  him  away 
from  the  colporteur.  But  they  dared  not.  They 
feared  his  power,  and  the  power  of  the  Church." 

But  to  return  to  my  barrister  friend,  who  first 
told  me  the  story. 

"  I  have  seen  on  a  week-end  visit  to  County 
Galway,"  he  said, "  a  man  attending  the  Presbyterian 
Church  service  accompanied  by  two  police  constables 
with  loaded  rifles  to  protect  him,  and  my  information 
is  that  he  is  still  so  protected.  But  there  is  a  more 
insidious  way  in  which  the  priests'  power  is  felt.  In 
the  same  church  the  Presbyterian  minister  has  a  very 
clever  family :  one  is  a  doctor  who  took  up  work  in  his 
native  town  (Athenry) .  He  was  a  favourite  and  got  a 
fine  practice.  Then  came  a  warning  from  the  Church 
altar,  and  his  practice  vanished  as  if  by  magic." 


50    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

"  And  what  do  you  deduce  from  this  ?  "  I  asked. 

"I  am  simply  illustrating  the  power  of  the 
Church,"  was  the  reply.  "  The  priest  holds  the 
people  body  and  soul,  and  they  dare  not  disobey 
his  diet  urns." 

For  the  present  I  will  offer  no  opinion  on  these 
incidents,  as  I  wish  to  refer  to  the  whole  subject 
again  later  on,  but  this  must  be  admitted.  The 
power  of  the  priest  is  simply  enormous.  As  one 
writer,  an  Irishman  who  knows  his  country 
thoroughly,  says  :— 

"  The  power  of  that  [the  Roman]  Church  to 
enforce  her  will,  depends  almost  entirely  on  whether 
there  is  a  Catholic  lay  opinion  independent  enough 
to  resist  her  claims,  and  a  Government  sufficiently 
strong  to  keep  her  aspirations  within  bounds.  With 
regard  to  the  Roman  Catholic  lay  opinion,  there  is 
none.  And  there  never  has  been  any — the  Church 
is  in  supreme  command,  and  the  priests  have  absolute 
control  over  their  people's  affairs  temporal  and 
spiritual.  They  issue  commands  from  the  altar, 
they  dictate  from  the  platform,  and  they  give  orders 
from  the  cabin.  Ireland  to-day  is  the  most  priest- 
ridden  country  in  the  world,  and  if  evidence  on  this 
point  were  necessary  it  is  sufficient  to  state  that  the 
Headmasters'  Association  is  entirely  composed  of 
priests,  and  that  the  parish  priest  is  practically 
ex-officio  chairman  of  every  political  meeting  held 
within  his  parish.  It  will  be  seen  therefore  that 


there  is  no  lay  representative  in  education  or  politics, 
and  consequently  there  can  be  no  lay  opinion  on  these 
two  great  subjects  of  human  interest  and  human 
thought.  Could  such  a  state  of  affairs  hold  for  a 
moment,  or  could  their  parallel  be  found  anywhere 
else  ?  " 

I  am  giving  full  prominence  to  this  phase  of 
Ulster's  objection  to  Home  Rule.  They  say  that  the 
facts  I  have  stated  are  unknown  in  England,  and  I 
am  anxious  to  do  justice  to  their  case.  Whether 
they  are  right  or  wrong,  we  can  only  arrive  at  just 
conclusions  by  considering  carefully  all  their  evidence 
and  placing  it  in  its  true  perspective.  Of  course, 
there  is  another  side.  There  always  is;  but  I  am 
convinced  that  no  one  can  understand  the  facts  I 
have  set  down,  without  agreeing  that  the  Protestants 
of  Ireland  have  reason  for  opposing  Home  Rule. 
As  I  said,  the  whole  question  is,  with  them,  funda- 
mentally religious.  If  the  people  were  not  dominated 
by  the  priests,  they  would  not  be  afraid ;  if  the 
tentacles  of  the  Church  were  not  spread  everywhere, 
fastening  themselves  upon  every  phase  of  the  life 
of  three-fourths  of  the  people,  the  Protestants  could 
trust  in  the  righteousness  of  their  cause ;  but 
knowing  as  they  do  that  the  Church  and  her 
minions  would  meet  and  obstruct  them  in  every 
road  that  would  lead  to  justice  and  to  liberty,  they 
offer  an  unflinching  opposition. 



ONE  of  the  things  often  urged,  while  I  was  in  the 
North  of  Ireland,  in  opposition  to  Home  Rule, 
and  as  an  evidence  of  the  arrogant  power  of  the 
Church  of  Rome,  was  the  now  notorious  Ne  Temere 
decree.  There  is  little  need  for  me  to  discuss  it 
here  at  any  length,  as  its  meaning  and  significance 
must  be  well  known  to  my  readers.  Suffice  to  say 
that  this  decree,  which  was  not  enforced  in  the 
British  Isles,  was  declared  at  Easter,  1908,  to  be 
operative  in  our  midst.  It  has  for  many  years  been 
regarded  as  the  law  of  the  Church  in  many  other 
countries,  but  we  like  Germany,  Austria,  and  other 
lands,  did  not  come  under  its  sway.  Suddenly  it 
came  in  our  midst  like  a  bolt  from  the  blue.  It 
declared  that  no  marriage  was  valid  in  the  eyes  of 
Rome,  unless  sacramentally  performed.  In  other 
words,  it  declared  that  many  people  who  regarded 
themselves  as  man  and  wife,  and  were  man  and  wife 
in  the  eyes  of  the  English  law,  were  living  in  sin. 



It  declared  that  if  a  Protestant  married  a  Roman 
Catholic,  and  the  marriage  ceremony  was  not  per- 
formed by  a  priest  of  the  Church  of  Rome,  their 
marriage  was  only  a  mockery,  and  that  in  the  eyes  of 
God  the  man  and  the  woman  were  violating  the 
most  sacred  principles  of  morality.  It  declared, 
further,  that,  in  spite  of  the  sanction  of  the  law  of 
the  land,  all  children  of  such  an  union  were  in  the 
eyes  of  the  Church  illegitimate,  the  offspring  of  sin. 
Now  in  a  country  like  Ireland  there  have  been 
many  mixed  marriages.  Roman  Catholic  girls 
married  Protestant  men,  and  men  who  were  Roman 
Catholics  married  Protestant  women.  Sometimes 
these  marriages  took  place  in  a  Protestant  church, 
sometimes  in  a  Roman  Catholic  chapel.  The 
priests  were  much  chagrined  when  one  of  their  flock 
married  a  Protestant  either  in  a  Protestant  church 
or  in  a  registry  office,  but  they  could  do  nothing. 
As  all  the  world  knows,  however,  the  present  Pope, 
Pius  X.,  is  a  deadly  enemy  to  liberty  of  mind,  and 
his  encyclicals  against  Modernism  shew  his  deter- 
mination to  crush  out  the  slightest  resemblance  to 
independence  of  thought  among  those  who  regard 
him  as  their  spiritual  head.  Perhaps  this  is  natural. 
He  is  an  Italian  priest,  reared  in  the  narrowest 
school.  He  knows  little  of  history  ;  his  most  ardent 
admirers  admit  that  he  has  not  even  a  nodding 
acquaintance  with  literature.  It  is  generally  admit- 
ted that  he  was  elected  to  the  Papal  chair, 

54    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

not  because  he  has  any  particular  gifts  as  a  legislator 
or  administrator,  but  because  those  who  elected 
him  regarded  him  as  the  man  most  likely  to  be  the 
willing  tool  of  those  who  wished  to  carry  out  an 
Ultramontane  policy.  Personally,  a  quiet,  good, 
kind-hearted  man,  he  is  but  a  child  in  the  hands  of 
his  advisers,  who  swear  eternal  enmity  to  Protestant 
liberties.  Hence  the  publication  of  this  decree  in 
the  British  Isles.  That  it  is  monstrous  and  cruel, 
no  liberty-loving  man  will  deny  ;  but  it  exists.  It 
is  now  a  Roman  Catholic  law  in  the  British  Islands 
just  as  it  has  been  in  other  countries  which  have  been 
in  subjection  to  the  decrees  of  the  Council  of  Trent. 

By  the  declaration  of  this  decree,  therefore,  the 
priest  can  go  to  a  man  and  woman,  the  one  a  Roman- 
ist, and  the  other  a  Protestant,  who  have  been  married 
according  to  the  marriage  rites  of  the  law  of  the  land, 
but  whose  union  has  not  been  blessed  by  a  Roman 
priest,  and  he  can  say  to  them, "  You  are  living  in  sin." 
He  can  say  to  a  Protestant  woman  who  is  married 
to  a  Roman  Catholic,  "  You  are  no  better  than  the 
women  in  the  streets  who  earn  the  bread  of  shame." 
He  can  tell  her  that  her  children  are  bastards,  and 
he  can  tell  the  husband  that  he  is  in  danger  of 
everlasting  damnation  by  living  with  the  woman 
whom  he  has  taken  to  be  his  wife. 

Now  this  does  not  mean  so  much  in  England, 
where  our  atmosphere  is  Protestant,  and  where  we 
breathe  the  breath  of  liberty.  We  should  tell  him 


that  we  did  not  care  a  snap  of  our  fingers  for  all  the 
decrees  that  the  Pope  might  care  to  pronounce. 
For  all  practical  purposes,  from  the  English  Protes- 
tant's standpoint,  a  pope's  decree  is  not  worth  the 
paper  on  which  it  is  written.  It  is  a  matter  of 
words  signifying  nothing.  In  Ireland,  however,  it  is 
different.  In  the  last  chapter,  I  have  enlarged  upon 
the  power  of  the  Church.  The  faithful  Roman 
Catholic  in  the  Emerald  Isle  dare  not  disobey  the 
laws  of  that  Church.  They  are  binding,  they  are 

In  the  province  of  Munster  I  asked  a  man  in  an 
influential  position  which  law  he  must  obey  in 
relation  to  this  matter,  the  law  of  the  Church  or  the 
law  of  the  land  ? 

"  The  law  of  the  Church,  most  decidedly,"  was  his 
reply.  "  The  law  of  the  land  is  human,  the  law  of 
the  Church  is  the  law  of  God." 

"  Then  this  Ne  Temere  decree  is  the  law  of  God  ?  " 

"  Undoubtedly." 

"  But  don't  you  see  the  position  ?  The  Ne  Temere 
decree  is  not  operative  in  Germany  or  Austria ; 
therefore,  the  law  of  God  according  to  you  is  different 
in  one  country  from  what  it  is  in  another  ?  " 

"  I  have  nothing  to  do  with  that.  When  the 
Church  enunciates  a  law,  it  makes  that  law  the  law 
of  God." 

"  This  Ne  Temere  decree  was  announced  to  become 
law  at  Easter,  1908.  According  to  you,  a  certain 

56    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

man  and  woman  who  were  made  husband  and  wife 
by  our  rites,  were  living  in  innocence  and  bliss 
before  that  date,  they  were  living  in  the  direst  sin 
the  day  after  ?  " 

"  Most  decidedly." 

"  And  yet  nothing  had  changed,  except  that  the 
decree  had  gone  forth." 

"  Excuse  me,  everything  was  changed.  The 
announcement  of  the  decree  changed  an  innocent 
action  into  a  great  sin." 

Of  course,  it  was  impossible  to  argue  against 
such  a  position,  but  the  conversation  I  have  recorded 
indicates  how  matters  stand  in  Ireland.  The  man 
to  whom  I  was  speaking  was  regarded  as  a  fairly 
intelligent  man,  and  to  an  extent  a  guide  to  public 
thought.  How,  then,  would  this  matter  be  regarded 
by  the  ignorant  people  who  believe  the  priest  to 
have  supernatural  power  ?  I  almost  hesitate  to 
put  it  on  paper,  because  it  seems  so  absurd,  but 
I  was  told  by  responsible  people  in  Ireland  that  many 
peasants  believe  that  the  priests  could  change  them 
into  loathsome  animals  if  they  wished  to  do  so. 
Be  that  as  it  may,  the  ignorant  Irish  Roman  Catholic, 
and  many  who  are  supposed  to  be  intelligent  as  well, 
regard  it  as  awful  sin  to  disobey  the  priest  when  he 
gives  any  commands.  Moreover,  everyone  knows  the 
priest's  power  in  confession  ;  almost  every  Roman 
Catholic  believes  that  to  die  without  absolution  is 
something  to  be  dreaded  beyond  words,  and  that 


to  be  refused  the  sacraments  is  tantamount  to  being 
refused  salvation. 

Consider,  then,  this  Ne  Temere  decree  in  the  light 
of  this  thought.  Here  is  a  man,  a  Roman  Catholic, 
who  marries  a  Protestant  girl.  At  the  time  of  his 
marriage,  he  is  only  a  "  nominal  Catholic,"  and 
he  consents  to  be  married  in  a  Protestant  church. 
Presently  the  decree  is  enunciated,  and  the  priest 
goes  to  the  man  and  tells  him  that  unless  he  is 
married  again  by  a  Roman  Catholic  priest  according 
to  the  laws  of  the  Roman  Church,  he  is  living  in 
sin,  and  is  in  danger  of  everlasting  fire.  All  the 
influences  of  the  man's  early  training  begin  to  work, 
all  the  chains  which  have  been  gathered  around  him 
from  infancy  tighten.  The  terrors  of  the  Church 
get  hold  of  him.  He  goes  to  confession,  but  can 
get  no  absolution.  He  is  not  allowed  to  participate 
in  the  sacraments,  which  to  the  believing  Roman- 
ist is  something  terrible  to  contemplate.  He  is  a 
pariah,  he  is  condemned  by  the  Church,  and  he 
believes  that  until  the  Church's  curse  is  removed 
he  is  under  the  wrath  of  God,  and  in  the  direst 
danger  of  hell  fire. 

But  this  is  not  all.  His  companions  taunt  him, 
ostracise  him.  He  is  shut  out  from  the  haunts  of 
his  old  friends.  He  is  regarded  as  a  leper.  He  is 
like  a  man  standing  on  the  brink  of  a  yawning 

What  shall  he  do  ?     If  his  wife  will  consent  to 

58    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

be  married  again  all  will  be  well.  He  speaks  to  his 
wife  about  it ;  and  she,  being  Protestant  born  and 
bred,  refuses. 

"  No,"  she  says,  "  I  have  been  married  once,  I 
will  not  be  married  again." 

"But,"  he  urges,  "we  have  never  been  truly 

This  angers  the  woman.  "  Do  you  mean  to  tell 
me,"  she  cries,  "  that  I  who  was  married  at  such  and 
such  a  church  am  not  your  wife  ?  That  I  have 
been  for  years  living  in  sin,  that  my  children  are 
the  children  of  shame  ?  " 

The  man  says  they  are,  and  thus  the  seeds  of 
dissension,  anger,  bitterness,  and  ruin,  are  sown. 

The  man  goes  to  the  priest  again,  who  preaches 
the  doctrines  of  the  Church,  and  strikes  if  possible 
greater  terrors  into  the  man's  soul. 

What  will  the  result  be  ? 

This  is  not  a  fancy  picture  as  I  shall  now  have  to 
relate.  As  every  reader  of  our  newspapers  knows, 
a  little  more  than  a  year  ago  the  details  of  a  shocking 
event  were  recorded  in  our  public  press  which  aroused 
the  slumbering  passions  of  thousands.  Not  only 
was  it  dealt  with  at  great  length  in  the  newspapers, 
but  it  was  brought  before  the  House  of  Commons 
and  discussed  there. 

As  this  affair  is  supposed  to  bear  directly  on 
the  question,  "  Is  Home  Rule  Rome  Rule  ?  "  it 
may  be  well  to  give  it  some  prominence  here. 


During  the  time  I  was  in  Belfast,  among  the 
many  ministers  I  saw  was  the  Rev.  William  Corkey, 
M.A.,  of  the  Townsend  Presbyterian  Church  in 
that  city.  He  is  a  young  man  of  perhaps  a  little 
more  than  thirty  years  of  age,  retiring,  modest, 
quiet ;  as  far  removed  from  the  righting  Orangeman 
or  the  political  parson  as  can  well  be  imagined. 
Presently  it  came  out  that  h^  was  the  minister  who 
took  a  prominent  part  in  bringing  the  case  of  Mrs. 
McCann  to  light.  He  told  me  that  Mrs.  McCann 
was  a  member  of  his  congregation,  and  asked  me  if 
I  would  care  to  see  her.  I  accepted  his  invitation, 
and  on  the  following  morning  found  my  way  to  Mr. 
Corkey's  house,  where  he  had  asked  Mrs.  McCann 
to  meet  me. 

My  first  sight  of  her  somewhat  startled  me.  I 
had  expected  to  see  a  somewhat  aggressive  woman 
of  between  thirty  and  forty  years  of  age.  Mr.  J. 
Devlin,  M.P.,  spoke  in  the  House  of  Commons  of 
the  woman's  difficulties  with  her  husband  as  having 
nothing  to  do  with  religion,  but  with  irreligion. 
He  said  it  was  a  vulgar,  sordid  quarrel,  and  it  was 
hinted  by  many  that  the  woman  was  a  bad  lot, 
and  was  given  to  drink. 

Judge  of  my  surprise,  therefore,  when  a  young 
girl  of  twenty  came  into  the  room.  There  was  no 
suggestion  of  the  aggressive,  blatant,  quarrelling 
virago.  The  very  opposite  was  the  case.  Quietly 
dressed,  modest  in  demeanour,  and  somewhat 

6o    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

reticent  of  speech,  she  struck  me  as  far  superior 
to  the  ordinary  cottage  woman.  Not  a  weak  girl  by 
any  means.  Her  square  chin,  firm  lips,  and  rather 
abrupt  manner  of  speech  suggested  decision  and 
a  strong,  indomitable  will.  One  who  would  not  be 
bullied,  one  who  having  made  up  her  mind  as  to 
what  was  right,  would  be  true  to  her  principles. 

I  saw  a  photograph  of  her,  too,  one  taken  before 
she  was  robbed  of  her  children,  a  bright,  happy  girl 
holding  a  baby  in  her  arms. 

This,  as  nearly  as  I  can  give  it,  is  a  picture  of 
Mrs.  McCann  around  whose  name  so  much  con- 
troversy has  waged. 

As  so  many  garbled  stories  about  the  McCann 
case  have  been  given,  I  will  give  here  the  true  narrative 
of  the  affair  as  she  told  it  to  me,  and  as  was  attested 
to  by  Mr.  Corkey,  her  minister,  who  sat  in  the 
room  with  us. 

She  was  born  and  reared  in  Ballymena,  and  was, 
if  I  remember  aright,  a  farmer's  daughter.  At  the 
age  of  seventeen  she  was  married  to  the  man 
McCann  by  the  Rev.  R.  M.  McGilmour,  in  whose 
church  she  was  brought  up.  Mr.  McGilmour  also 
married  her,  and  baptized  the  two  babies  that  were 
born  to  her.  Mr.  McGilmour  speaks  highly  of  her 
life  as  a  girl,  and  wrote  concerning  her,  saying, 
"  Neither  before  nor  after  her  marriage  up  to  the 
present  time  have  I  personally  known  or  heard 
anything  against  her  character."  Remember,  she 


was  only  seventeen  when  McCann  married  her— 
little  more  than  a  child  in  years.  McCann  was  a 
Roman  Catholic,  but  from  what  I  can  gather  by 
no  means  an  ardent  one.  The  very  fact  that  he  was 
willing  to  marry  a  Protestant  girl  in  a  Protestant 
church  would  go  to  prove  this. 

For  a  time  the  young  couple  lived  happily  together 
(I  had  this  from  her  own  lips),  and  two  children 
were  born  to  them.  Some  time  after  their  marriage 
McCann  attended  a  mission  that  was  held  in  one 
of  the  Roman  Catholic  churches,  and  I  am  given 
to  understand  that  this  mission  led  him  to  take  his 
religion  more  seriously. 

It  seems  that  the  couple  lived  in  a  Roman  Catholic 
quarter  of  the  city,  and  the  life  was  so  rough  that 
McCann  was  led  to  take  another  house  in  a  more 
prosperous  quarter,  and  I  have  first-hand  evidence 
to  show  that  he  took  a  real  delight  in  preparing 
the  new  home. 

Just  before  their  second  child  was  born  Mrs. 
McCann  went  to  her  parents'  home  to  be  confined. 
While  she  was  there  McCann  wrote  to  her  in  the 
most  affectionate  terms.  I  have  seen  the  originals 
of  his  letters,  and  can  speak  confidently  as  to  the 
loving  words  in  which  they  were  couched. 

A  few  weeks  after  her  return  to  her  home  a  priest 
called  on  her,  and  told  her  that  she  was  never  really 
married  at  all ;  that  she  had  been  living  in  sin  with 
her  husband,  and  that  her  children  were  the  children 

62    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

of  shame.  He  also  besought  her  to  be  married  again 
by  a  priest  of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church. 

You  can  imagine  the  woman's  horror  and  anger. 
Any  respectable  woman,  too,  can  sympathise  with 
her  in  her  determination  not  to  yield  to  the  priest's 
dictates.  Had  she  been  a  weak  woman  she  would 
doubtless  have  yielded,  but  she  came  of  a  Scotch 
stock  and  would  not  be  intimidated. 

As  she  said  to  me  in  broken,  abrupt  sentences : 
"  I  had  been  married,  truly  married,  and  I  wouldn't 
be  married  twice  to  the  same  man.  I  wouldn't 
admit  that  I  had  been  living  with  him  for  years 
without  being  married." 

"  And  then  ?    What  then  ?  "  I  asked. 

"  The  priest  told  me  it  would  be  very  easy,"  was 
her  reply.  "  He  said  that  if  I  liked  no  one  need 
know  anything  about  it,  while  if  I  wanted  a  grand 
wedding  I  could  go  to  church." 

"  And  you  refused  ?  " 

"  Yes,  I  refused." 

Now,  according  to  newspaper  reports,  Mr.  J. 
Devlin,  M.P.,  stated  in  the  House  of  Commons  that 
the  Church  of  Rome  had  nothing  to  do,  directly  or 
indirectly,  with  the  breaking  up  of  this  home ;  more- 
over, Mr.  Devlin  read  in  the  House  of  Commons 
a  letter  purporting  to  be  from  an  unknown  priest, 
who  said  :  "I  visited  the  house  for  the  first  time 
in  January,  1910.  Neither  then  nor  on  any  subse- 
quent occasion  did  I  inform  Mrs.  McCann  that  she 


was  not  properly  married,  nor  did  I  tell  her  she  was 
living  in  sin,  nor  that  her  children  were  illegitimate." 

There  are  certain  things  one  would  like  to  say 
about  this.  The  first  is  this— Who  is  this  unknown 
priest  ?  What  is  his  name  ?  What  are  his  bona 
fides,  and  why  should  he  be  believed  ?  But  more, 
what  are  we  to  say  about  those  priests  who  have 
corroborated  Mrs.  McCann's  statements  ?  On 
January  30th,  1911,  the  Rev.  Father  Power  wrote  a 
letter  to  the  Scotsman,  in  which  he  told  first  how 
kindly  the  priest  dealt  with  Mrs.  McCann,  and  then 
went  on  to  say  :  "  The  priest's  duty  began  and  ended 
with  a  detailed  statement  that  was  intended  to 
enlighten  Mrs.  McCann  as  to  the  real  condition  of  a 
man  who,  through  no  fault  of  his,  had  sinfully  broken 
a  law  which  bound  his  conscience,  but  did  not  touch 
her  absolute  bona  ftdes"  Again,  the  Rev.  Father 
Power  says,  in  a  letter  to  the  Scotsman,  on  February 
3rd :  "  The  representation  made  by  the  priest  has 
been  fairly  well  summarised  by  Mr.  Corkey."  Mr. 
Corkey  told  the  story  to  the  press  much  as  I  have 
told  it  here,  only  in  greater  detail. 

In  proof,  too,  that  the  Church  of  Rome,  and  that 
Church  alone,  was  guilty  of  breaking  up  this  home, 
I  will  quote  the  sayings  of  two  men  which  bear  upon 
the  case. 

The  Rev.  Father  Findlay,  the  highest  authority 
on  Roman  Catholic  law  in  Ireland,  and  a  man  of 
exceptional  ability,  says,  in  an  article  in  the  New 

64     IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Ireland  Review,  referring  to  the  action  of  McCann  : 
"  He  was  conscientiously  bound  to  separate  from 
the  Presbyterian  woman  unless  she  consented  to  a 
re-validation  of  the  marriage,  and  he  is  under  the 
greatest  obligation  to  see  that  his  children  are 
baptized  and  brought  up  Catholics." 

The  Rev.  Father  Hubert  also,  a  well-known  Belfast 
priest,  preached  a  sermon  bearing  on  the  case,  in 
which  he  defended  the  action  of  the  Church.  This 
sermon  was  reported  in  the  Belfast  Northern  Whig. 
He  said  :  "  We  consider  ourselves  messengers  and 
ministers  of  God.  Here  we  have  a  man  whose  soul 
was  in  charge  of  the  priest.  Could  the  priest 
stand  by  and  not  say  to  him,  '  You  are  living 
in  sin  '  ?  " 

So  much  for  Mr.  Devlin's  statement  in  the  House 
of  Commons  that  religion  had  nothing  to  do  with 
the  affair,  and  the  alleged  letter  from  the  unknown 
and  nameless  priest  which  the  newspapers  recorded, 
and  to  which  credence  was  given  by  so  many. 

But  to  return  to  my  narrative.  Of  course  the 
visit  of  the  priest  led  to  a  disruption  between  the 
husband  and  wife.  He  insisted  on  being  re-married. 
She  refused.  Then  came  the  blow.  The  children 
were  smuggled  out  of  the  house,  and  the  man  left 
his  wife.  For  days  the  woman  sought  high  and  low 
for  her  children.  She  sought  in  vain.  By  whom 
they  were  taken,  and  under  whoss  control  they  were 
taken,  it  is  not  difficult  to  imagine.  Certain  it  is 


she  never  found  them,  and  she  has  never  found  them 
to  this  day. 

Presently  the  man  wrote  her  asking  her  to  meet 
him  at  the  "  Black  Man,"  a  famous  statue  in  Belfast. 
She  went,  accompanied  by  her  sister.  She  pleaded 
with  her  husband  to  take  her  to  see  the  children. 
He  declared  before  God  that  he  dared  not.  He 
could  do  nothing  until  they  were  re-married  accord- 
ing to  the  rites  of  the  Church  of  Rome.  He  said  he 
had  been  living  in  sin  for  two  years,  and  would  do 
so  no  longer.  He  told  her  how  the  children  cried  for 
her,  and  repeated  that  he  was  willing  to  live  with 
her  if  they  were  re-married,  but  not  otherwise. 

Thus  they  separated,  and  as  far  as  I  could 
gather,  the  wife  has  never  seen  the  husband  since. 
The  woman,  who  had  controlled  her  feelings  up  to 
this  point,  broke  down  here,  and  wept  bitterly. 
And  no  wonder.  It  was  one  of  the  saddest  narratals 
I  ever  heard.  It  is  true  the  woman  has  been  helped 
since.  Kind  friends  have  subscribed  to  a  fund  on 
her  behalf,  and  she  is  now  being  trained  as  a  nurse, 
but  by  this  infamous  decree,  she  has  been  robbed  of 
her  home,  robbed  of  her  husband,  robbed  of  her 
children,  and  attempts  have  been  made  to  rob  her 
of  her  good  name. 

As  Mr.  Corkey  says :  "  I  do  not  blame  McCann. 
He  believed  the  Church  had  the  keys  of  heaven,  and 
he  surrendered  his  wife  rather  than  run  the  risk  of 

the  awful  curse  of  excommunication.     If  you  can 


66    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

make  an  ignorant  man  believe  you  could  put  him 
in  hell  and  keep  him  there,  you  could  make  him 
do  anything.  I  do  not  blame  the  priest.  He  was 
faithful  to  his  calling,  and  discharged  a  most  un- 
pleasant duty  loyally  ...  It  was  the  papal  decree 
that  wrought  ruin  !  " 

The  picture  of  that  poor  girl  has  haunted  me 
ever  since  I  left  the  house.  A  young  girl,  little  more 
than  a  child,  married  at  seventeen,  who  has  been 
robbed  of  her  home,  robbed  of  her  husband,  robbed 
of  the  children  to  whom  she  has  given  birth  with  pain 
and  anguish,  and  whom  she  loved  with  a  mother's 
love,  and  left  alone  in  the  world.  And  this  was 
done  by  the  Church  that  dominates  the  larger 
part  of  Ireland. 

There  is  little  more  to  tell.  An  appeal,  so  it 
appears,  was  made  to  the  Lord  Lieutenant,  who 
said  he  could  do  nothing.  As  some  one  remarks, 
"  All  the  power  of  the  country's  police  could  be  used 
to  find  a  lady's  lap-dog,  but  nothing  could  be  done 
to  find  this  woman's  children."  Presently,  however, 
after  time  had  been  given  to  smuggle  the  children 
out  of  the  country,  Mr.  Corkey  told  me  that  the 
Chief  Secretary  gave  instructions  to  the  police  to 
search  for  the  children.  Of  course,  it  was  in  vain. 
As  one  of  the  detectives  who  is  a  Roman  Catholic 
told  Mr.  Corkey :  "We  are  fighting  against  the  Church 
and  we  can  do  nothing." 

Where  are  the  children  ?     If  they  are  in  a  nunnery 


or  convent  in  the  British  Isles,  they  cannot  be  found. 
Our  Protestant  Government  will  do  nothing  to 
cause  these  places  to  be  open  to  inspection.  As  we 
have  repeatedly  said,  "  Our  convents  are  sealed 
houses."  If  the  children  are  in  one  of  these,  there- 
fore, the  mother  will  never  see  them  again.  If  they 
are  taken  abroad,  they  are  in  all  probability  under 
the  control  of  the  Roman  Church,  and  therefore  Mrs. 
McCann  has  little  room  for  hope.  The  Roman 
Church  defies  all  the  machinery  of  our  British  laws, 
as  well  as  their  authority. 

"  But, "says  someone,  "  sad  as  the  story  may  be, 
what  has  it  to  do  with  Home  Rule  ?  As  a  proof 
that  Ireland  is  at  present  dominated  by  Rome,  it  is 
well-nigh  conclusive ;  but  these  things  are  done 
not  under  Home  Rule  but  under  the  Union.  How 
would  things  be  affected  if  Ireland  were  under  Home 
Rule  ?  " 

This  is  the  conclusion  of  the  people  of  Ulster: 
If  Home  Rule  were  granted  the  Church  would  see  to 
it  that  the  law  of  the  Church  would  be  made  the 
law  of  the  State,  then  people  would  neither  have 
redress  nor  safety.  Under  the  existing  state  of 
things,  the  Church  dare  not  do  what  they  would  be 
sure  to  do  if  a  Parliament  were  established  in  Dublin. 
The  Church  would  then  rule  unrestricted,  and  would 
see  to  it  that  Ireland  was  governed  according  to 
Canon  Law. 

"  But  " — and  this  I  urged  upon  those  who  took 

68    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

this  view — "  no  Irish  leader  would  claim  that  the 
Dublin  Parliament  should  have  the  right  to  alter 
the  marriage  laws  ?  " 

In  answer  to  this  I  was  referred  to  Mr.  Gladstone's 
Home  Rule  Bill  of  1893.  During  the  discussion  of 
that  Bill  the  then  member  for  East  Down  moved  an 
amendment  to  "  exclude  from  the  proposed  Irish 
Parliament  the  right  of  repealing  or  amending  any 
law  at  present  in  existence,  or  hereinafter  to  be 
enacted  by  the  Imperial  Parliament,  which  gives 
legal  effect  to  any  rights  or  ceremonies  performed  by 
any  Protestant  church." 

Mr.  Gladstone  opposed  this  amendment. 

Mr.  Balfour  supported  it,  and  said :  "  Gentlemen 
from  Ireland  must  be  perfectly  aware  that,  according 
to  the  Council  of  Trent,  according  to  the  principles 
of  the  Church  to  which  they  belonged,  a  marriage 
performed  in  a  Presbyterian  church  was  from  a 
religious  point  of  view  of  no  validity  whatever." 

Sir  T.  Lea  (Londonderry)  ajso  said  :  "  The  leaders 
of  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  .  .  .  knew  very  well 
that,  whenever  the  marriage  laws  came  under  dis- 
cussion in  an  Irish  Parliament,  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church  would  have  its  way." 

A  division  on  this  amendment  took  place,  and 
among  those  who  voted  against  it  were  Mr.  Gladstone, 
Mr.  Redmond,  and  all  the  Irish  members. 

"  Facts  speak  louder  than  words,"  said  these 
Ulster  men  to  me,  "  and  therefore  in  spite  of  all  Mr. 


Redmond's  talk  about  safeguards,  we  do  not  believe 
him.  Whatever  may  be  his  own  private  views,  he 
is  under  the  domination  of  the  Church  of  Rome,  and 
he  has  to  do  what  that  Church  tells  him.  Home  Rule 
would  be  Rome  Rule." 

With  regard  to  the  Motu  Proprio  decree,  about 
which  there  has  been  so  much  discussion,  the  attitude 
of  those  who  oppose  Home  Rule  is  just  the  same. 
This  decree,  when  couched  in  everyday  speech, 
amounts  to  this,  that  no  layman  can  bring  a  priest, 
or  any  ecclesiastic  whatever,  into  the  public  law 
courts  unless  the  case  in  which  he  is  implicated 
be  first  brought  before  the  Church  courts. 

That  if  any  Roman  Catholic  shall,  in  spite  of  this 
decree,  take  such  a  step,  he  shall  be  excommunicated. 

The  following  is  an  extract  from  the  decree  :— 


"  Concerning  bringing  Clergy  before  the  Tribunals 
of  lay  judges. 

'  Though  all  diligence  be  employed  in  framing 
laws,  it  is  often  impossible  to  guard  against  any 
doubt  which  may  subsequently  arise  owing  to  adroit 
interpretations  of  the  same.  .  .  . 

"  Doubtless  the  meaning  of  this  section  has  been 
repeatedly  declared  by  the  Congregation  of  the 
Holy  Office.  But  now  in  these  times  of  injustice, 
when  so  little  regard  is  paid  to  the  immunity  of 
ecclesiastics,  that  not  only  clerics  and  priests,  but 

70    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

also  Bishops  and  even  their  Eminences  the  Cardinals, 
are  brought  into  a  court  of  laymen,  the  case  altogether 
demands  from  Us  that  by  the  severity  of  the  punish- 
ment, We  keep  to  their  duty  those  men  who  are  not 
deterred  from  such  an  act  of  sacrilege  by  the  gravity 
of  their  offence.  We  of  Our  own  notion  do  ordain, 
and  decree  as  follows  : — 

'  Whatever  private  individuals,  whether 
of  the  laity  or  in  Holy  Orders,  men  or 
women,  summon  to  a  tribunal  of  laymen 
any  ecclesiastical  persons  whatever,  be  the 
case  criminal  or  civil,  without  any  per- 
mission from  an  ecclesiastical  authority, 
and  constrain  them  to  attend  publicly  in 
these  courts,  all  such  private  individuals 
incur  excommunication  at  the  hands  of  the 
Roman  Pontiff. 

"  Moreover,  it  is  Our  will  and  pleasure 
that  what  has  been  ordained  by  these 
letters  be  established  and  ratified,  notwith- 
standing anything  whatsoever  to  the 

"  Given  at  Rome  at  St.  Peter's  on  the  gth  day 
of  the  month  of  October,  in  the  gth  year  of  Our 

"  POPE  PIUS  X." 


Of  course,  the  publication  of  this  document  caused 
a  great  stir  among  Roman  Catholics,  and  although 
the  Protestants  of  Ireland  admit  that  at  present  it 
does  not  bear  directly  upon  them,  it  is  another 
argument  to  prove  that  Home  Rule  means  Rome 

Immediately  after  the  appearance  of  the  decree 
in  the  Dublin  Daily  Express,  Archbishop  Walsh 
dealt  with  it  in  an  article  of  some  seven  columns  in 
length.  When  he  had  read  it,  the  editor  of  that 
paper  was  in  doubt  whether,  according  to  the 
Archbishop's  opinion,  it  applied  to  Ireland  or  not. 
The  general  feeling  is  that  it  does.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  it  is  supposed  to  have  become  the  law  of  the 
Roman  Church,  and  therefore  has  the  gravest 
application  to  those  belonging  to  that  community. 

It  needs  but  a  moment's  consideration  to  see  how 
it  would  affect  the  course  of  public  justice.  If 
it  became  effective  it  would  mean  the  practical 
immunity  of  Roman  Catholic  clerics  from  the  civil 
law,  and  if  Roman  Catholics  and  Protestants  were 
mixed  up  in  a  case  in  which  some  Roman  Catholic 
priest  were  implicated,  it  might  make  it  extremely 
difficult,  if  not  altogether  impossible,  for  the  Protes- 
tant to  get  justice.  On  the  surface  it  seems  to  press 
most  hardly  on  Roman  Catholics ;  indeed,  it  pro- 
hibits them  from  any  direct  appeal  to  the  civil  law 
against  any  Romanist  cleric  whatsoever,  but  in  a 
country  in  which  Romanist  and  Protestant  are 

72    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

constantly  mixed  up  in  commercial  affairs,  it  may 
affect  the  latter  as  much  as  it  affects  the  former. 

Of  course  the  Roman  Church  argues  that  no 
injustice  would  be  possible,  as  the  Church  Courts 
would  see  to  it  that  right  would  be  done ;  but 
the  history  of  Church  Courts  is  such  that  no  one 
having  knowledge  of  them  would  care  to  depend 
on  them  for  even-handed  justice. 

As  the  Dublin  Daily  Express  says  in  commenting 
on  the  matter : — 

"  The  Roman  Catholic  clergyman  is  thus  placed 
on  a  pinnacle  of  sacrosanctity,  from  which  it  is 
safe  to  assert  he  will  seldom  or  ever  be  dragged  to 
answer  for  his  actions  in  either  a  civil  or  a  criminal 
court  of  law.  The  action  of  His  Holiness  is  easy  to 
understand.  It  is  detrimental  to  the  interests  of  any 
Church  to  have  its  clerical  representatives  figuring 
in  the  law  courts.  The  Roman  Catholic  Church  in 
particular  seeks  to  enshroud  its  clergy  in  a  halo  of 
virtue,  and  much  of  its  influence  over  the  masses  is 
due  to  this  very  fact." 

Here  then  is  the  Ulster  case.  If  a  Home  Rule 
Parliament  sits  at  St.  Stephen's  Green,  it  is  bound 
to  be  under  the  dominion  of  Rome,  and  Rome  would 
never  rest  until  the  laws  of  the  Church  were  the 
law  of  the  State,  and  it  would  see  to  it  that  what 
is  now  binding  only  on  Roman  Catholics,  should 
apply  to  Protestants  as  well. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  I  am,  in  stating  the  arguments 


of  the  main  bulk  of  the  Protestants  of  Ireland 
against  Home  Rule,  obliged  to  mention  a  decree 
on  which  they  lay  so  much  stress.  Moreover,  they 
urge  that  this  is  only  another  sample  of  the 
arrogance  of  Rome,  and  another  link  in  the  chain 
of  argument  which  goes  to  prove  that  Home  Rule 
would  be  Rome  Rule.  Not  only,  they  urge,  would 
Protestants  not  be  able  to  get  justice,  but  Roman 
Catholics  would  be  more  than  ever  enslaved  by 
clerical  forces,  and  Ireland  would  be  more  effectually 
stultified  in  its  endeavours  to  arise  from  the  Slough 
of  Despond,  in  which  for  so  many  years  it  has  been 


"  IS     IT     ANY     WONDER  ?  " 

"Is  it  any  wonder  ?  "  the  Protestants  of  Ulster 
have  said  to  me,  "  that  we  are  in  deadly  opposition 
to  Home  Rule  ?  With  us  our  religious  liberties  are 
more  than  our  material  possessions.  Home  Rule 
would  mean  the  end  of  our  material  prosperity,  it 
would  mean  the  stagnation  of  our  enterprises,  it 
would  mean  the  destruction  of  our  credit,  it  would 
mean  the  flower  of  our  young  manhood  leaving  our 
shores,  and  going  to  lands  where  it  could  find 
liberty  and  justice.  But  this  is  not  the  chief  thing. 
We  are  Protestants,  we  believe  in  Protestant 
liberties,  our  fathers  shed  their  blood  for  them 
centuries  ago,  and  it  is  because  we  have  entered  into 
the  possession  of  this  blood-bought  heritage,  that  we 
have  in  face  of  tremendous  difficulties  made  this 
corner  of  Ireland  the  most  prosperous  part  of  the 
British  Dominions.  We  have  nothing  but  the 
kindest  feelings  towards  Roman  Catholics  as  in- 
dividuals; but  we  hate  Romanism,  we  fear  its 
malign  power,  and,  God  helping  us,  we  will  never, 
NEVER  submit  to  a  Parliament  which  will  be  nothing 


"  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  75 

but  a  Committee  obeying  Rome's  behests.  We  ask 
for  nothing  for  ourselves,  except  to  remain  under  the 
old  flag,  and  to  live  obedient  to  the  laws  of  Great 
Britain.  Through  the  years,  whilst  the  priest-ridden 
part  of  Ireland  has  been  disloyal  and  turbulent,  we 
have  been  loyal  and  at  peace;  while  they  have 
been  lazy  and  thriftless,  we  have  been  industrious 
and  thrifty;  while  they  have  been  a  weakness 
to  the  Empire,  we  have  been  a  strength ;  while 
they  have  proclaimed  their  hatred  for  the  mother 
country,  we  have  shown  our  love  and  our  fidelity 
to  her ;  and  while  they  have  been  like  leeches 
sucking  the  life-blood  of  the  body  corporate,  we 
have  given  of  our  best  to  sustain  the  National  Life. 
They  have  been  a  weakness  to  the  nation,  while  we 
have  been  a  strength  ;  and  while  they  have  been  the 
open  sore  of  British  politics,  our  loyalty  and  love 
have  been  a  healing  balm.  And  now  you  propose 
to  place  us  under  the  heel  of  the  people  who  are 
ruled  by  an  alien  power ;  you  suggest  that  we 
Protestants,  to  whom  liberty  is  the  very  breath  of 
our  lives,  should  be  placed  in  a  condition  of  slavery 
by  Rome. 

"  Is  it  any  wonder  that  we  are  in  earnest,  that  we 
are  determined,  and  that  we  will  resist  even  unto 
the  death  against  any  such  thing  ?  " 

"  We  must  be  free  or  die,  who  spake  the  language 

Shakespeare  spake, 
The  faith  and  morals  hold  which  Milton  held." 

76    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

This  was  said  to  me  a  hundred  times,  and  in  a 
hundred  ways,  after  I  had  heard  their  statements 
bearing  upon  the  question  whether  Home  Rule  would 
be  Rome  Rule.  The  voice  of  Ulster  was  well-nigh 
unanimous  in  affirming  that  it  would  be  so;  and 
while  several  whom  I  saw  in  the  city  of  Belfast 
protested  that  such  would  not  be  the  case,  the 
great  majority  of  the  people,  at  least  ninety  per  cent, 
of  the  Protestant  population  as  it  seemed  to  me,  pro- 
tested that  Home  Rule  for  Ireland  would  mean  a  more 
complete  reign  of  an  Italian  priest  and  his  minions. 

While  I  was  in  Belfast  the  Presbyterian  Church 
was  actively  preparing  for  the  great  meetings 
which  were  held  on  February  ist.  When  the  idea 
was  first  discussed,  it  was  thought  that  it  would  be 
a  small  meeting,  but  the  rivulet  became  a  broad 
stream,  and  the  stream  became  a  mighty  river. 
No  less  than  50,000  men  gathered  together  at  the 
great  demonstration.  It  was  not  a  political  gather- 
ing, it  was  not  a  wild  Orange  demonstration,  it  was 
a  gathering  of  serious  men  (for  neither  women  nor 
children  were  admitted  to  the  halls  or  churches), 
who  met  with  stern  faces  and  unflinching  resolve 
never  to  bend  the  neck  to  the  Church  of  Rome,  which 
they  are  convinced  is  the  meaning  of  Home  Rule. 

The  men  of  the  North  of  Ireland  are  called  bigoted, 
and  bigoted  they  are,  if  absolute  conviction  that 
Romanism  means  slavery  of  the  worst  kind,  and  that 
Home  Rule  means  Rome  Rule  is  bigotry.  That  was 

"  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  77 

the  note  struck  at  all  their  great  gatherings,  both 
afternoon  and  night  on  February  ist.  I  have  had 
private  letters  attesting  to  the  deep  religious  feeling 
pervading  the  meetings.  Sir  William  Crawford, 
writing  me  on  February  3rd,  said :  "  The  meetings 
were  most  impressive ;  the  sight  of  3,000  strong, 
serious  men  met  in  the  Assembly  Hall  at  two  o'clock, 
and  over  3,000  other  men  of  the  same  stamp  at 
7.30,  was  almost  overwhelming.  The  singing  of 
Psalm  xlvi.  almost  seemed  as  if  it  would  lift  the  roof. 
I  am  told  that  in  the  Ulster  Hall,  Mary  Street 
Church,  Roseway  Street  Church,  Great  Victoria 
Street  Church,  the  crowds  were  quite  as  dense.  I 
was  much  struck  with  the  alertness  of  the  entire 
audience,  and  when  I  asked  them,  as  giving  their 
assent  to  the  resolution,  to  stand  with  uplifted 
right  hand,  they  did  so  instantaneously,  as  if  drilled 
from  the  platform.  One  could  see  nothing  but  hands. 

"  If  the  Solicitors-General,  both  of  Scotland  and 
England,  could  have  seen  it,  perhaps  they  might 
have  hesitated  about  talking  of  '  coercing  the  rebels 
of  Ulster.'  Queer  sort  of  rebels !  We  desire  nothing 
from  Government.  Is  that  too  much  ?  " 

I  quote  this  as  shewing  their  attitude  towards 
Home  Rule,  and  the  strength  of  their  feelings. 

The  question  of  Mr.  Winston  Churchill  speaking 
in  Ulster  Hall  was  of  course  a  burning  question 
while  I  was  there,  and  I  took  strong  objection  to 
the  attitude  they  had  taken. 

78    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

"  Is  it  any  wonder  ?  "  was  their  answer.  "  You 
must  remember  that  we  are  fighting  for  what  we 
regard  as  dearer  than  our  lives.  Home  Rule  is  not 
a  mere  political  question ;  we  cannot  think  of  it 
as  an  academic  matter,  as  many  English  Home 
Rulers  seem  to  regard  it.  They  seem  to  think  we 
are  playing  a  game  of  bluff,  and  that  we  shall  easily 
yield.  If  Churchill  is  allowed  to  come  here  without 
a  set  and  deliberate  protest  on  our  part,  and  if  he 
speaks  at  a  meeting  at  Ulster  Hall  in  the  ordinary 
way,  Home  Rulers  will  repeat  their  parrot  cry  that 
our  feelings  against  Rome  Rule  are  not  so  strong  as 
they  were,  and  that  we  are  being  converted  to  that 
side.  We  regard  this  as  a  challenge  to  us,  and  we  want 
to  shew  that  we  mean  to  take  it  up.  It  is  the  first  step 
in  a  revolution,  and  we  desire  to  shew  our  minds." 

"  Come  now — revolution  !  "  I  said. 

"  Yes,  revolution.  For  it  will  be  a  revolution. 
We  have  made  up  our  minds,  and  we  shall  not 
budge  an  inch.  If  a  Home  Rule  Bill  is  passed 
there  will  be  a  revolution,  and  possibly  a  bloody 
revolution,  too." 

"  Do  you  realise  what  you  are  saying  ?  " 

"  We  realise  it  perfectly.  Even  the  women  and 
children  will  take  up  arms  if  needs  be,  and  we  are 
not  afraid." 

"  But  don't  you  see  the  madness  of  such  a  threat  ? 
What  could  you  do  against  a  trained  army  ?  " 

"  Would  the  English  army  fire  upon  us  ?     Would 

'  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  79 

English  and  Scotch  men  fire  upon  their  flesh  and 
blood  ?  Would  England,  which,  if  a  plebiscite  were 
taken  would  not  prove  in  favour  of  Home  Rule, 
allow  the  loyal  and  law-abiding  part  of  Ireland  to 
be  murdered  simply  because  it  desires  to  remain  one 
with  the  British  Government,  and  because  it  refuses 
to  be  governed  by  a  set  of  political  agitators  who 
are  the  tools  of  Rome,  and  get  their  money  from 
America  ?  We  do  not  believe  it.  But  in  any  case 
we  mean  to  stand  firm,  and  if  we  are  driven  to 
extremities  we  will  fight  to  the  very  last." 

"  But  that  does  not  justify  you  in  refusing  to 
hear  the  other  side.  Free  speech  is  one  of  the 
dearest  heritages  for  which  our  fathers  have  fought, 
and  which  they  have  handed  down  to  us.  And  yet 
you  refuse  free  speech.  You  are  afraid  of  argument." 

"  Argument !  We  should  not  hear  Churchill,  and 
we  are  not  afraid  of  his  arguments.  But  we  want  to 
shew  that  we  are  in  earnest." 

"  But  it  is  not  cricket ;  it  is  not  sportsmanlike. 
We  are  not  a  nation  of  savages,  but  of  free  people, 
and  it  is  one  of  the  laws  of  civilisation  to  give  the  other 
side  a  fair  hearing.  And  you  have  broken  that  law  ; 
you  have  done,  that  which  you  condemn  people  in 
the  south  of  Ireland  for  doing." 

"  I  tell  you  that  on  the  eve  of  a  possible  revolution 
such  as  this  we  are  justified  "  ;  and  not  one  of  the 
men  with  whom  I  spoke  could  be  moved  from  this 

8o    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

"  Is  it  any  wonder  ?  "  they  repeated  again  and 
again.  "  What  would  you  do  in  England  if  you 
felt  you  were  in  danger  of  being  handed  over  to  a 
foreign  power,  which  meant  the  destruction  of  the 
business  you  had  been  building  up  through  the 
years  ?  If  it  meant  the  violation  of  liberties  which 
were  as  the  breath  of  your  life,  and  which  would 
finally  mean  the  overthrow  of  your  faith  ? 

"  You  cannot  destroy  faith  so  easily,"  was  my 
reply.  "  The  Duke  of  Alva  and  all  the  powers  of 
Spain  could  not  destroy  the  faith  of  Holland." 

"  No,  but  they  butchered  many  thousands,  they 
deluged  the  land  in  blood.  Why,  think  of  the 
condition  of  Quebec  !  What  has  Rome  done  there  ? 
The  Protestant  population  of  that  city  is  not  half  of 
what  it  was  a  few  years  ago.  The  Romanists  have 
just  squeezed  them  out,  made  it  impossible  for  them 
to  live.  That  is  what  they  would  do  in  Ireland 
under  Home  Rule." 

"  But  do  you  think  if  a  Home  Rule  Bill  were  to  be 
passed  that  you  could  resist  the  power  of  Great 
Britain  ?  Don't  you  see  what  you  are  doing  ?  " 

'  We  see  perfectly  what  we  are  doing,  but  we 
do  not  think  you  quite  understand  the  class  of 
people  you  are  trying  to  coerce.  We  are  in  deadly 
opposition  to  this  business,  and  nothing  will  move 
us.  You  remember  the  riots  of  1886,  when  Gladstone 
brought  in  his  first  Home  Rule  Bill.  Do  you  know 
what  took  place  ?  There  were  103  killed,  and  over 

"  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  81 

a  thousand  wounded.  Some  of  us  visited  the 
hospital,  and  the  place  was  a  perfect  hell.  Do  you 
think  you  have  any  right  to  turn  Belfast  into  a  hell 
again,  for  that  is  what  you  will  do  ?  " 

"  Even  now,"  said  a  large  employer  of  labour  to 
me,  "  the  very  shadow  of  Home  Rule  has  brought 
estrangement  among  my  workpeople,  it  is  causing 
bitterness  and  anger.  There  has  been  no  open 
trouble  yet,  but  the  fires,  although  smouldering, 
are  there.  All  this  is  bad  for  the  city,  bad  for  the 
common  weal." 

"  Remember  this,  too,"  said  another,  "  our 
opposition  is  different  now  from  what  it  was  in 
1886.  Then  the  riots  took  place  among  the  working 
classes,  now  you  would  find  the  most  respected  of 
our  citizens  would  revolt." 

"  But  think  of  the  general  results,"  I  urged,  "and 
remember  this,  too,  the  Government  of  a  great 
country  like  ours  cannot  be  intimidated." 

"  There  is  passive  resistance  as  well  as  active 
resistance,"  was  the  reply. 

'  What  do  you  mean  by  passive  resistance  ?  " 
'  The    Nonconformists    of    England    showed    us 
after  Balfour's  Education  Bill  was  passed." 

"  Which  you  Unionists  of  Ulster  helped  him 
to  pass,"  I  retorted. 

"  Yes,  and  many  of  us  are  ashamed  of  it,  for  the 
main  bulk  of  the  Presbyterians  of  Ulster  are  with  you 
in  everything  but  this  Home  Rule  question.  But 


82    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

you  must  remember  that  the  Unionist  party  have 
ostensibly  supported  our  cause,  while  the  Liberal 
party  have  ostensibly  supported  Home  Rule.  And 
there  is  practically  no  other  political  question  but 
Home  Rule  among  us.  But  to  come  back  to  passive 
resistance,  the  Nonconformists  of  England  resisted 
the  law,  and  refused  to  pay  rates." 

'  Yes,  and  the  power  of  the  law  has  worn  down 
that  resistance.  Nonconformists  feel  as  bitterly 
as  ever  against  the  Clerical  rates  without 
popular  representation,  which  the  Unionists  forced 
upon  them.  But  they  could  do  little  against 
the  law." 

"  Ah,  but  our  case  is  different.  The  Noncon- 
formists only  deducted  a  part  of  the  rates,  a  mere 
fraction  of  it ;  but  we  will  deduct  the  whole.  You 
did  not  disorganise  political  life ;  but  we  will. 
It  is  hard  to  coerce  over  a  million  people ;  in  fact, 
nearly  a  third  of  a  nation.  Remember  this  :  we  pay 
the  great  bulk  of  the  taxes,  we  Protestants,  and 
no  Irish  Government  could  be  carried  on  without  us. 
Well,  suppose  Home  Rule  is  granted,  and  we  have 
Redmond  for  Prime  Minister,  Devlin  for  a  Chancellor 
of  the  Exchequer,  Dillon  Education  Secretary,  and 
Tim  Healy  for  Home  Secretary ;  of  course  the  whole 
thought  is  ludicrous,  but  suppose  we  had  some 
such  arrangement,  what  would  happen  ?  Taxes 
would  be  levied  upon  Ulster,  upon  the  Protestants 
of  Ireland  generally.  But  we  should  not  pay 

'  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  83 

them.  That  Irish  Government  would  never 
receive  a  penny  from  us.  Not  one  penny.  What 
could  it  do?" 

"  Why  force  you  ?  " 

"  How  ?  We  shall  fight  as  one  man.  Warrants 
would  have  to  be  issued,  but  who  would  issue  them  ? 
If  they  distrain  upon  us  for  our  goods,  who  would 
sign  the  warrants  ?  If  they  tried  to  sell  up  our 
factories,  our  shops,  our  homes,  who  would  buy 
them  ?  I  tell  you  that  to  try  to  coerce  more  than  a 
million  people,  and  that  million  the  most  prosperous, 
the  most  intelligent,  indeed  the  strongest  and 
most  capable  people  in  a  country,  is  a  tremendous 
task.  In  fact,  it  is  the  testimony  of  history  that 
you  cannot  coerce  a  free  people,  when  that  people 
is  united  and  determined.  No,  do  not  be  mistaken, 
the  Protestants  of  Ireland  have  counted  the  cost, 
and  they  have  made  up  their  minds." 

The  Honourable  Thomas  Sinclair,  an  Irish  Privy 
Councillor,  and  one  of  the  most  influential  Protestants 
in  Ireland,  explained  his  position  to  me  as  follows  : — 
"  If  the  British  people  are  determined  to  force  Home 
Rule  upon  us  against  our  passionate  protest,  we 
shall  demand,  on  the  grounds  of  elementary  justice, 
and  having  regard  to  the  province  we  have  built 
up,  after  having  been  planted  in  Ulster  by  an  English 
Government  for  State  purposes  three  hundred  years 
ago,  that  we  shall  remain  as  we  are,  an  integral 
part  of  the  United  Kingdom,  with  unimpaired 

84    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

representation  in  Imperial  Parliament  and  subject 
only  to  its  direct  control. 

"  Then,  if  this  be  not  granted  we  shall  go  on  with 
the  Provisional  Government.  In  either  event- 
namely,  whether  we  remain  as  we  are,  or  whether 
we  live  under  Provisional  Government,  we  consider 
that  we  can  best  assist  our  brethren  in  the  South, 
whose  position  we  feel  very  keenly." 

These,  if  I  read  the  people  aright,  are  the  sentiments 
of  the  overwhelming  majority  of  the  Protestants  of 
Ireland.  I  offer  no  opinion  upon  them  for  the 
present,  I  only  tell  what  I  saw  and  heard,  and  we 
cannot  judge  of  the  value  of  any  great  constitutional 
change  like  Home  Rule  unless  we  understand  the 
temper  and  tone  of  its  people. 

I  shall  never  forget  the  quiet  tones  of  one  elderly 
man  who  spoke  to  me  concerning  this  matter. 

"  We  people  of  the  North  are  not  an  easily 
conquered  people,"  he  said;  "  I  do  not  speak  boast- 
fully, I  only  speak  of  matters  of  fact — of  history. 
Do  you  remember  how  after  James  II.  had  made 
his  alliance  with  Louis  XIV.,  his  great  hope  lay  in 
Ireland,  and  how  he  hoped  by  the  possession  of 
Ireland  to  gain  back  his  ascendancy  over  England  ? 
Tyrconnell  had  been  made  general,  and  been  raised 
to  the  post  of  Lord  Deputy.  The  army  had  been 
remodelled,  Protestant  soldiers  had  been  discharged 
and  their  places  filled  by  Papists.  All  Protestant 
judges  had  been  replaced  by  Catholics,  and  Catholic 

"  IS  IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  85 

mayors  and  sheriffs  had  been  set  over  every  city 
and  county.  Then  the  terror  of  massacre  seized 
the  people.  Protestants  in  the  South  forsook  the 
country,  while  those  of  the  North  drew  together 
at  Londonderry  and  Enniskillen.  You  know  that 
for  two  months  Tyrconnell  intrigued  with  William's 
Government  in  order  to  gain  time,  then,  William, 
being  seemingly  powerless,  at  the  beginning  of  1689 
a  flag  was  hoisted  over  Dublin  Castle  on  which  the 
words  were  embroidered  '  Now  or  Never  ! '  I  tell 
you  it  was  a  fateful  time,  not  only  for  Ireland,  but 
for  England.  If  James  gained  a  firm  foothold  in 
Ireland,  what  might  not  have  happened  to  England  ? 
That  flag  at  Dublin  Castle  called  every  Papist  to 
arms,  and  James  sailed  from  France  to  Kinsale. 
His  first  work  was  to  crush  the  Protestants  who 
stood  in  arms  in  the  North.  Fifty  thousand  men 
were  gathered  under  TyrconnelTs  standard,  and 
twenty-five  thousand  of  them  were  sent  to  London- 
derry, where  the  bulk  of  the  Protestant  fugitives 
found  shelter  behind  a  weak  wall.  They  had  only 
a  few  old  guns,  and  not  even  a  ditch  to  protect 
them.  But  there  were  seven  thousand  men  there  ; 
seven  thousand  who,  like  the  men  of  Israel  in 
Elijah's  time,  had  not  bowed  the  knee  to  Baal, 
and  would  not  yield.  Think  of  it  !  Twenty-five 
thousand  armed  Papists  against  seven  thousand 
almost  unarmed  Protestants,  and  yet  the  seven 
thousand  repulsed  the  attacks,  nay,  they  made 

86    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

the  twenty-five  thousand  act  on  the  defensive,  and 
forced  the  Papists  to  turn  the  siege  into  a  blockade. 
Many  Protestants  died  of  hunger  in  the  streets, 
but  those  who  lived  still  held  on.  More  died  of 
fever,  which  was  the  result  of  hunger,  but  those  who 
survived  still  trusted  in  the  Lord  of  hosts,  and  held 
out  against  the  invaders.  Time  after  time  did  the 
Papists  command  them  to  yield,  and  time  after 
time  they  sent  back  the  answer  '  No  surrender ! ' 
That  siege  lasted  for  105  days,  and  only  two  days' 
food  remained  in  Londonderry,  but  there  was  no 
thought  of  yielding,  no  not  one.  On  the  28th  of  July , 
1689,  an  English  ship  broke  the  boom  across  the 
water,  and  the  Papists  knew  they  were  defeated. 
After  that  the  men  of  Enniskillen  turned  the  defeat 
into  a  rout :  the  routed  soldiers  fell  back  on  Dublin, 
where  James  lay  helpless  among  a  number  of 
Papists  who  were  well-nigh  frenzied,  and  although 
there  was  much  terrible  fighting  afterwards,  every 
step  our  fathers  took  was  a  step  towards  victory. 
Now,  those  were  the  men  who  saved  Ireland  for 
England,  and  those  men  were  our  forefathers. 
Do  you  think  that  we,  their  children,  are  likely  to 
yield  easily  ?  We  are  fighting  for  our  liberties  as 
they  fought.  We  are  fighting  for  our  faith  as  they 
fought,  and  '  No  surrender  ! '  is  our  motto  as  theirs 

What  answer  I  gave  to  this  I  need  not  say,  but  I 
realised  as  I  never  realised  before  how  deep  was  their 

"  IS   IT  ANY  WONDER  ?  "  87 

feeling  and  how  firm  and  strong  was  their  determina- 
tion never  to  yield. 

We  may  call  them  bigots  if  we  will ;  doubtless 
some  of  them  are,  but  that  they  are  sincere  no  one 
can  question,  and  that  they  are  strong  and  deter- 
mined is  obvious  to  the  most  careless  passer-by. 



I  HAVE  dwelt  at  length  on  the  attitude  of  the  Irish 
Protestants  on  the  question  as  to  whether  Home 
Rule  would  mean  Rome  Rule,  and  especially  on  that 
of  the  Protestants  of  Ulster,  because  I  have  been 
anxious  to  state  their  case  in  the  strongest  light. 
I  do  not  think,  moreover,  if  the  question  be  viewed 
from  their  standpoint,  that  the  strength  of  their 
case  can  be  denied.  It  requires  no  subtlety  of 
thought.  To  them  Ireland  consists  of  two  races, 
having  two  religions.  To  give  the  country  self- 
government  would  be  to  place  all  the  power  in  the 
hands  of  the  more  numerous  race,  the  race  which 
through  the  centuries  has  been  opposed  to  England. 
It  would  place  Protestants  under  the  subjection  of 
Rome,  which,  as  is  well  known,  regards  Protestantism 
with  a  deadly  hatred.  They  quote  the  able  and 
scholarly  editor  of  the  British  Weekly,  who  asks 
Mr.  Stephen  Gwynn  this  question :  "  Will  he  tell 
us  of  a  single  instance  where  a  Roman  Catholic 
majority  has  given  justice  to  a  Protestant  minority  ? 
We  wait  to  hear." 



The  case  of  Irish  Protestants,  then,  and  especially 
those  of  Ulster,  is  that  Home  Rule  would  mean 
Rome  Rule,  and  as  a  consequence  they  mean  to 
fight  to  the  death. 

But  there  is  another  side,  and  it  is  this  other  side 
that  I  am  anxious  to  state  with  as  much  fairness 
and  fulness  as  I  have  stated  the  other.  But  my 
task  is  more  difficult,  because  the  reasons  which 
would  lead  one  to  answer  the  question,  "  Does 
Home  Rule  mean  Rome  Rule  ?  "  in  the  negative 
do  not  lie  on  the  surface.  Nevertheless,  those 
reasons  must  be  given,  and  the  facts  that  support 
them  stated. 

During  the  whole  of  the  time  I  was  in  Ireland, 
and  since  I  have  returned  home,  and  have  been 
thinking  over  the  evidence  on  both  sides  of  the 
matter,  one  question  has  constantly  faced  me. 
Does  the  Roman  hierarchy  want  Home  Rule  for 
Ireland  ?  Whatever  else  may  be  said  about  the 
Roman  Church,  no  one  will  deny  that  those  who 
guide  its  policy  are  astute  men.  Moreover,  this  is 
certain  :  whatever  policy  they  bless  is  the  policy 
which  they  think  will  be  most  favourable  to  the 
Roman  Church.  It  will  not  willingly  abate  one 
jot  or  tittle  of  its  power ;  it  will  do  nothing  and,  if 
possible,  allow  nothing  that  will  lessen  its  dominance 
or  decrease  its  influence.  With  them  the  Church  is 
first,  the  Church  is  everything.  After  all,  Ireland 
is  not  a  large  question  to  the  Roman  Church.  It  is 

90    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

only  a  little  island  with  a  population  that  has  been 
decreasing  for  many  years.  Only  in  so  far  as  it  is 
associated  with  England  has  it  any  claim  to  great- 
ness. Its  people,  that  is  its  Roman  Catholic  people, 
are  in  the  main  poor,  and  cannot  be  of  any  great 
consequence  to  a  body  like  the  Roman  Church. 

To  put  it  in  another  way,  What  has  the  Roman 
Church  to  gain  by  an  Act  giving  Ireland  Home 
Rule  ?  Will  it  give  that  Church  more  power  than 
it  has  now,  will  it  give  her  a  stronger  hold  upon  the 
people,  will  it  increase  her  revenues  ?  Consider  the 
position  of  the  Roman  Church  in  Ireland.  It  is  freely 
admitted  that  nowhere  else  in  the  world  can  you 
find  a  people  so  amenable  to  the  Roman  hierarchy 
as  in  Ireland.  No  one  associates  Modernism  with 
the  Emerald  Isle.  None  of  its  priests  have,  as  far 
as  I  know,  ever  been  accused  of  having  "advanced 
notions  "  or  "  liberal  opinions."  If  there  are  any, 
they  dare  not  speak,  and  are  so  few  in  number  that 
they  are  a  negligible  quantity.  If  the  general 
opinion,  as  I  found  it  in  Ireland,  goes  for  anything, 
the  Irish  priests  are  utterly  devoted  to  their  Church, 
and  they  are  entirely  obedient. 

Could  their  position  be  improved  ?  Could  they 
under  Home  Rule  have  their  way  more  completely 
than  now?  If  Ireland  had  all  its  demands  con- 
ceded, and  possessed  complete  control  over  Irish 
affairs,  would  the  position  of  the  Church  be  improved 
one  jot  ?  Would  it  have  greater  control  over  the 


education  of  the  people  ?  Would  its  adherents  give 
more  largely  or  more  loyally  to  the  Church  ;  would 
it  dominate  the  destinies  of  the  country  more  com- 
pletely than  it  does  under  present  conditions  ? 
Could  it  ? 

I  am  pressing  this  question  because  it  seems  to 
me  of  considerable  importance.  For  I  would  again 
urge  this  position  :  the  Church  only  wants  that 
which  will  mean  its  own  aggrandisement  and  an 
increase  of  its  power. 

I  give  the  following  story  for  what  it  is  worth. 
I  have  every  reason  to  believe  it  is  true.     It  was 
told  me  by  a  man  who  had  it  from  the  lips  of  one 
who  was  associated  with  it. 

As  is  well  known,  Archbishop  Walsh  is  one  of  the 
most  influential  men  in  the  Roman  Church  in  Ireland. 
He  is  highly  respected,  not  only  by  Romanists  but  by 
many  Protestants,  and  is  regarded  by  some  as  a  cleric 
with  liberal  sympathies.  One  day  a  member  of  the 
Senate  of  the  New  University,  one  of  the  very  few 
Protestants  on  that  Senate,  and  who  told  the  story 
to  my  informant,  was  walking  with  the  Archbishop. 
The  Archbishop  looked  troubled,  and  his  companion 
asked  him  if  anything  worried  him. 

The  Archbishop  admitted  that  his  mind  was  far 
from  restful. 

II  What  is  troubling  you  ?  "  asked  his  companion. 
"  It  is  this  Home  Rule  question,"  was  the  reply. 
"  Why,  don't  you  approve  of  Home  Rule  ?  " 

92    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

The  Archbishop  was  doubtful  if  he  did. 

"  Why  don't  you  condemn  it  ?  "  was  the  query. 

"  Oh,  there's  time  enough  for  that  when  the  Bill 
is  introduced,"  was  the  answer.  "  We  shall  see  what 
it  really  means  then,  and  if  we  don't  like  it,  the 
thing  can  be  easily  killed  by  Convention." 

Admit  for  the  moment  that  the  story  is  true, 
and  that  the  Archbishop  said  the  words  I  have  written 
down,  what  does  it  suggest  ?  The  Church  of  Rome  can 
only  rule  by  the  will  of  the  people,  and  if  the  Church 
through  him  (the  Archbishop)  condemned  the  idea  of 
Home  Rule  before  the  Bill  was  introduced,  it  would 
create  a  difficult  situation.  The  better  educated  of 
the  people  would  feel  they  were  not  fairly  treated  ; 
they  would  speak  of  it  at  public  meetings ;  general 
unrest  would  result,  and  questions  would  be  asked. 
Such  a  state  of  things  would  be  inimical  to  the  wel- 
fare of  the  Church,  for  it  would  lessen  the  hold  of 
the  hierarchy  upon  the  affection  of  the  people. 
But  if  on  the  other  hand  the  Bill  were  introduced 
into  Parliament,  and  the  Irish  members  came  back 
to  Dublin  to  present  their  report  to  Convention, 
what  would  happen  ?  The  Convention,  I  am  given 
to  understand,  is  made  up  of  representatives  of 
the  various  societies :  The  Irish  League,  the 
Hibernians,  etc.  The  Convention  is  called  a  repre- 
sentative body,  but  it  is  ruled  by  the  Church.  The 
Church  pulls  the  strings,  the  Church  decides  its 
policy.  This  may  not  always  appear  on  the  surface, 


but  it  is  invariably  the  case.  If  therefore  the  Bill 
did  not  satisfy  the  Church  it  would  be  killed. 
The  Convention  would  say  that  it  did  not  satisfy 
the  people,  and  it  would  seem  as  though  the  Bill 
were  killed  by  the  people,  but  in  reality  the  Church 
would  be  responsible  for  its  death. 

This  was  what  happened,  as  I  was  frequently 
informed  by  the  Irish  Councils  Bill  in  1906^  When 
the  Irish  Secretary  introduced  it,  he  did  so  with  the 
consent  of  the  Irish  members,  but  when  its  details 
were  laid  before  the  Convention,  and  the  Church 
saw  that  it  would  mean  the  beginning  of  popular 
control  of  Irish  education,  it  puts  its  veto  upon  it. 
Ostensibly  the  Convention  killed  it,  but  all  the 
world  knows  that  the  voice  of  the  Convention  was 
the  voice  of  the  Church. 

This,  as  it  is  believed  by  many  to  whom  I  spoke, 
is  what  will  happen  in  relation  to  the  Home  Rule 
Bill.  If  it  does  not  please  the  Church,  the  Church 
will  try  to  kill  it,  unless  it  appeals  to  the  popular 
mind  so  strongly  that  to  kill  it  would  weaken  their 
hold  upon  the  people. 

All  the  same  it  is  believed  by  many  that  the 
Roman  Church  is  not  at  all  strongly  in  favour  of 
self-government  for  Ireland,  and  certainly  when  one 
considers  the  case  fairly  there  are  strong  reasons  for 
that  belief. 

What,  for  example,  is  the  objective  of  the  Church 
of  Rome  ?  Not  Ireland.  She  has  Ireland  already, 

94    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

and  it  is  difficult  to  see  how  her  power  can  be 
strengthened  there.  It  is  very  rare  that  she  obtains 
a  convert  in  Ireland.  The  Protestants  of  Ireland 
are  too  strongly  opposed  to  Rome  ever  to  yield 
to  her.  The  Protestants  of  Ireland  are  Protestant. 
They  do  not  coquette  with  the  Church  of  Rome  as 
many  do  in  England.  Ritualism  is  almost  unknown 
in  the  Episcopal  Church  of  Ireland.  As  George 
Bernard  Shaw  says  in  his  preface  to  "  John  Bull's 
Other  Island  "— "  In  Ireland  all  that  the  member 
of  the  Irish  Protestant  Church  knows  is  that  he  is 
not  a  Roman  Catholic.  The  decorations  of  even 
the  '  lowest '  English  church  seem  to  him  to  be 
extravagantly  ritualistic  and  popish."  Of  course, 
Mr.  Shaw  is  a  man  who  writes  too  often  with  his 
tongue  in  his  cheek  to  be  taken  seriously  always, 
but  in  this  he  is  doubtless  right.  The  Protestants 
of  Ireland — Episcopalians,  Presbyterians,  Methodists, 
Quakers,  and  Congregationalists — are  Protestant, 
and  are  adamant  against  any  approaches  of  the 
Romanist  Church.  As  a  consequence,  the  objective 
of  Rome  cannot  be  Ireland.  What  is  it,  then  ? 
As  all  the  world  knows,  it  is  England.  In  order  to 
convert  England  Pope  Pius  IX.  sent  Cardinal 
Wiseman  to  take  ecclesiastical  possession  of  Eng- 
land long  years  ago,  and  ever  since  then  the  Papal 
policy  has  been  to  spare  no  effort  to  regain  her  power 
in  England.  Cardinal  Manning  made  no  secret  of 
this.  "It  is  ours,"  he  said,  "  to  subjugate  and 


subdue,  to  conquer  and  to  rule  an  imperial  race.  .  .  . 
Were  heresy  conquered  in  England,  it  would  be 
conquered  everywhere.    All  its  lines  meet  here,  and 
it  is  here  that  the  Church  of  God  must  be  gathered 
in  all  its  strength." 

If  this  is  true,  what  would  the  Church  gain  by 
giving  self-government  to  Ireland  ?  Of  course,  it 
would  largely  depend  upon  the  inclusion,  or  exclu- 
sion of  Irish  members  from  the  English  Parliament. 
But  it  can  hardly  be  expected  that  if  Home  Rule  is 
granted,  Irish  members  would  be  allowed  to  legislate 
in  purely  English  affairs. 

If  this  were  the  case,  therefore,  it  would  mean  the 
practical  withdrawal  of  Irish  members,  the  great 
bulk  of  whom  are  Roman  Catholics,  from  any  direct 
legislation  on  definitely  English  matters,  and  that 
would  be  a  source  of  weakness,  and  not  a  source  of 
strength,  to  the  Roman  Church.  As  all  the  world 
knows,  Mr.  Balfour's  Education  Bill,  which  placed 
Romanists  upon  the  rates,  was  supported  by  the  Irish 
party  ;  indeed,  it  is  believed  by  many  that  it  would 
never  have  become  law  but  for  the  Irish  Catholics. 
Cardinal  Vaughan,  so  it  is  reported,  said  boastfully 
when  the  Bill  was  passed,  "We  have  dished  the 
Nonconformists."  Would  the  Church  of  England 
party  have  done  what  they  did  but  for  the  help  of 
the  Irish  ?  Again,  when  the  Liberals  came  into 
power,  and  the  present  Irish  Secretary  introduced  a 
Bill  which  was  only  a  bundle  of  compromises,  there 

96     IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

is  little  doubt  but  that  he  was  influenced  by  the  fact 
that  the  Irish  members  sat  at  St.  Stephen's.  No 
one  regards  the  English  Education  question  as 
settled.  It  must  sooner  or  later  come  upon  the 
tapis  again,  and  the  withdrawal  of  the  Irish  members 
would  prove  a  tremendous  disadvantage  to  the 
Church  of  Rome,  when  a  new  Education  Bill  is 

Another  thing  has  to  be  borne  in  mind.  If  the 
Home  Rule  question  were  out  of  the  way,  and 
Ireland  had  self-government,  the  minds  of  the  people 
would  be  centred  on  their  own  affairs.  Moreover,  it 
follows  as  the  night  the  day  that  two  parties  would 
spring  up  in  Ireland  as  they  have  sprung  up  in  other 
countries  where  self-government  has  been  granted. 
There  would  be  a  clerical  party  and  an  anti-clerical 
party.  Now,  if  Rome  fears  anything,  she  fears  this, 
and  she  is  wise  enough  to  see  the  danger.  During 
the  last  century  nation  after  nation  has  slipped  from 
her  grasp  through  free  and  popular  governments ; 
i  and  Ireland,  Church-bound  as  she  is,  would  be  likely 
/  to  follow  in  the  train  of  France,  and  Italy,  and 

I  will  not  discuss  this  question  here,  as  I  shall 
have  occasion  to  touch  upon  it  again  in  another 
chapter;  but  it  surely  supports  the  doubt  which 
exists  in  the  minds  of  many  whether  the  Roman 
Church  really  wants  Home  Rule  for  Ireland. 

There  have  been  many,  too,  who  see  in  the  two 


Papal  decrees  signs  that  the  Roman  Church  is  not 
in  love  with  the  thought  of  Home  Rule.  Personally 
I  do  not  attach  much  importance  to  it,  but  the 
argument  which  many  adduce  is  this  :  The  Church 
of  Rome  must  know  that  the  publication  of  those 
decrees  could  not  be  calculated  to  help  Home  Rule. 
Its  representatives  in  Ireland  knew  very  well  that 
it  would  arouse  the  feelings  of  Protestants,  and  that 
it  would  be  used  as  an  argument  for  refusing  to 
place  Ireland  under  an  Irish  Parliament.  They 
knew  that  almost  every  newspaper  would  attach 
great  importance  to  it,  and  that  its  almost  certain 
results  would  be  heralded  far  and  wide.  Archbishop 
Walsh  and  Cardinal  Logue  knew  the  furore  that 
was  created  by  the  McCann  case ;  they  watched  it 
step  by  step,  and  were  aware  of  the  deadly  hatred 
to  Rome  which  it  aroused  in  the  breasts  of 
Protestants  in  Ulster.  They  were  not  blind  to 
the  fact  that  the  Unionists  of  England  as  well  as  of 
Ireland  would  be  likely  to  make  the  most  of  it,  and 
that  at  every  step  in  a  Home  Rule  measure  it  would 
be  adduced  as  an  evidence  of  Roman  aggression  and 
Roman  cruelty.  Of  course  they  tried  to  shew  up 
the  Church  in  its  best  light ;  it  was  their  policy  so  to 
do  ;  and  yet  only  a  very  little  while  later  the  Motu 
Proprio  decree  was  proclaimed.  It  is  true,  Archbishop 
Walsh  wrote  seven  columns  of  ambiguous  rhetoric 
to  the  Dublin  Express,  but  he  did  not  deny  its 
application  to  Ireland,  and  he  knew  that  his  letter 

98    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

would  be  a  text  for  hundreds  of  anti-Home  Rule 

If  the  Roman  Church  wanted  Home  Rule,  many 
urge  that  that  Church  would  not  have  put  such  a 
strong  argument  in  the  mouths  of  their  enemies,  and 
thus  have  imperilled  the  chances  of  the  thing  upon 
which  they  have  set  their  hearts.  But  they  did  allow 
it.  The  decrees  have  been  proclaimed,  and  they  have 
aroused  the  antagonism  of  millions  of  people.  It  is 
true,  the  Home  Rule  press  have  glossed  over  the  facts, 
and  some  by  silence  on  certain  salient  features  have 
gone  far  to  nullify  their  influence.  But  the  facts 
remain,  and  thousands  are  saying,  "  If  Rome  will  do 
this  now,  what  will  it  not  do  when  it  has  a  Parliament 
in  Dublin,  and  when  the  Government  of  Ireland 
is  directly  in  its  power  ?  "  This  being  so,  have 
not  those  who  believe  that  the  Roman  hierarchy 
dislikes  Home  Rule,  strong  grounds  for  their  belief  ? 

It  is  true  that  a  Roman  Catholic  bishop  told  me 
that  these  decrees  had  no  political  significance 
whatever,  and  were  simply  proclaimed  as  necessary 
laws  of  the  Church  ;  but  I  could  not  help  feeling  that 
he  spoke  in  a  very  tentative  way.  Moreover,  he  is 
by  no  means  a  political  ecclesiastic,  and,  as  far  as  I 
could  judge,  would  not  be  the  kind  of  man  to 
be  consulted  concerning  the  inner  workings  of  the 
Roman  hierarchy. 

As  I  said,  I  do  not  attach  very  great  importance 
to  this  argument,  as  from  my  reading  of  Church 


history  the  Roman  Church  works  in  ways  far  subtler 
than  this,  and  if,  as  it  has  been  frequently  said,  the 
Jesuits  dictate  the  policy  of  the  Church,  they  would 
adopt  something  far  less  obvious  than  this.  As  a 
Modernist  member  of  the  Roman  Communion  said 
to  me  some  time  ago :  "  The  ways  of  the  Church  of 
Rome  are  difficult  to  understand,  and  if  it  wanted 
to  kill  Home  Rule  it  would  do  it  in  a  far  more 
subtle  fashion.  When  it  wants  to  kill  a  thing, 
it  usually  makes  it  appear  that  it  does  not  want 
to  kill  it,  and  when  the  deed  is  done,  it  makes  it 
appear  that  it  was  done  in  spite  of  its  behests." 

Be  that  as  it  may,  however,  this  argument  is 
frequently  adduced  and  believed  by  many,  and  while 
it  is  not  of  first-class  importance,  its  supporters  have, 
prima  facie,  a  case. 

Then  there  is  something  else  to  be  borne  in  mind. 
Ever  since  Wyndham's  Land  Act  was  passed,  the 
priests  as  a  body  have  practically  withdrawn  from 
politics.  Doubtless  now  and  then  they  appear  on 
Home  Rule  platforms,  but  as  a  whole  they  have 
withdrawn  from  the  political  arena,  and  from  active 
politics  generally.  Indeed,  an  ecclesiastic  of  high 
standing  in  Ireland  told  me  he  very  much  doubted 
whether  there  was  anything  like  a  strong  feeling 
among  the  Roman  Catholic  clergy  in  favour  of 
Home  Rule.  He  admitted  that  most  of  the  priests 
were  of  peasant  origin,  and  came  from  the  class 
that  most  strongly  supported  it.  As  a  consequence, 

ioo         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

from  the  standpoint  of  National  sentiment,  and  from 
early  prejudice,  they  were  in  favour  of  it,  but  they 
did  not  publicly  support  it. 

This  is  significant.  Of  course,  I  am  quite  aware 
that  the  Roman  Catholic  clergy  would  be  somewhat 
particular  as  to  what  they  said  to  me,  especially  as 
those  to  whom  I  spoke  were  fully  aware  of  the 
attitude  I  had  taken  on  Protestant  questions. 
But  the  facts  speak  for  themselves.  First,  it  is 
generally  admitted  that  the  priests  as  a  body  have 
in  the  main  withdrawn  from  the  public  advocacy  of 
Home  Rule.  Second,  the  priests  of  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church  are  bound  to  reflect,  broadly  con- 
sidered, the  feelings  and  wishes  of  the  hierarchy. 
There  is  not  the  slightest  doubt  that  if  the  priests  did 
feel  strongly  on  the  question,  they  would,  unless  they 
were  forbidden  by  those  in  authority,  express  their 
feelings  whenever  they  had  opportunity  to  do  so, 
for  they  would  know  that,  especially  in  the  rural 
districts,  they  control  the  sentiments  of  the  peasants. 
And  thirdly,  I  repeatedly  heard  while  I  was  in  the 
South  of  Ireland,  that  there  was  a  very  strong  doubt 
among  the  people  whether  the  Church  as  a  Church 
were  at  all  anxious  for  Home  Rule. 

Indeed,  to  urge  again  the  question  I  asked  at  the 
beginning,  Why  should  the  Church  want  it  ?  Could 
it  be  better  off  under  a  Home  Rule  Government  ? 
Could  it  have  its  own  way  more  completely  ?  Has 
it  not  a  thousand  times  more  to  lose  than  to  gain 


by  Home  Rule  ?  and  if  it  has,  would  it  not  be  the 
height  of  folly  for  it  to  throw  the  weight  of  its 
influence  on  the  side  of  that  political  party  which  is 
staking  everything  on  giving  it  ? 

For  it  is  a  well-known  fact — and  that  fact  would 
be  amusing  if  it  were  not  so  sad — each  party, 
Liberal  and  Conservative,  is  afraid  of  touching  the 
religious  aspect  of  the  question  for  fear  of  alienating 
the  Roman  Catholic  vote.  The  editor  of  one  of 
the  most  influential  Unionist  newspapers  in  Ireland 
told  me  that  one  of  the  prominent  Unionist 
members  of  Parliament  came  to  him  with  a  sad 
countenance.  He  said:  "  We  have  been  stultifying 
ourselves  as  a  party,  we  have  been  emasculating 
our  arguments  by  for  ever  keeping  the  religious 
aspect  of  the  question  in  the  background.  We  have 
been  told  that  we  must  not  speak  of  the  religious 
danger  of  Rome  Rule  for  fear  of  offending  the  Roman 
Catholic  Unionist.  And  yet  this  is  our  strongest 
platform.  As  far  as  Ulster  is  concerned,  it  is  the 
bed-rock  of  all  our  arguments,  and  we  shall  never 
win  in  this  battle,  unless  we  throw  off  this  miserable 
encumbrance  and  fight  the  battle  on  the  real  battle- 
field— viz.,  that  Home  Rule  would  mean  Rome 
Rule.  Why  should  we  hide  our  real  feelings 
because  we  fear  to  offend  the  Unionist  Roman 
Catholics  ?  " 

Of  course,  I  am  speaking  only  from  memory,  and 
do  not  claim  to  use  his  exact  words ;  but  I  have 

102        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

conveyed  the  sentiments  which  he  expressed  in 
far  stronger  language  than  I  have  used. 

I  have  noticed  this,  too.  The  Unionist  papers, 
not  Irish  but  English,  studiously  refrain  from  using 
language  that  would  alienate  the  Roman  Catholic 
elector.  On  the  day  following  the  great  Presbyterian 
demonstration  in  Belfast  (and  it  must  be  remembered 
that  this  was  wholly  a  religious  demonstration,  and 
was  marked  by  the  strongest  denunciation  of  Roman 
tyranny),  the  principal  Unionist  journal  we  have 
in  England,  if  we  except  the  Times,  neither  in  its 
descriptive  article  nor  in  its  leader  expressed  the  real 
Presbyterian  feeling.  It  did  not  even  condemn  the 
Ne  Temere  decree,  rather  it  justified  it.  It  did  not 
refer  to  the  McCann  case,  which  has  so  stirred  the 
heart  of  Ulster  ;  rather  it  endeavoured  to  enlist  the 
sympathies  of  the  Unionist  Roman  Catholic  for 
the  Irish  Protestants  whose  chief  fear  is  the  Church 
of  Rome.  It  overlooked  the  fact  that  but  for  the 
religious  difficulty  the  Ulster  objection  would  melt 
away  like  snow  before  the  sun,  and  sought  to 
make  it  appear  that  the  Roman  Catholic  Unionist 
and  the  Irish  Protestant  Unionist  had  a  common 

In  my  letter  to  the  Belfast  paper,  which  I  men- 
tioned in  the  first  chapter,  I  urged  that  the  Ulster- 
men  should  come  to  England  and  reveal  the  true 
facts  concerning  Home  Rule  and  Rome  Rule,  and 
in  many  of  the  letters  I  received,  I  was  told  that 


they  had  received  strict  orders  not  to  touch  on  the 
religious  question,  as  by  so  doing  they  would 
alienate  the  sympathies  of  the  Roman  Catholic 

The  same  could  be  said  of  the  Liberal  party. 
The  strongest  Protestants,  who  hate  Rome's 
policy,  water  down  their  arguments  on  education 
and  other  questions  for  fear  of  losing  the  "  Catholic 

If  the  Roman  hierarchy  wanted  Home  Rule,  if 
there  was  anything  like  a  strong  feeling  for  it,  would 
those  who  in  England  condemn  Home  Rule  fail  to 
use  this  as  an  argument  ?  As  a  matter  of  fact,  it 
is  extremely  doubtful  whether  those  who  shape 
Rome's  policy  in  Ireland  do  favour  it.  Indeed,  I  am 
inclined  to  think  that  they  fear  it,  and  wish  it  could 
be  buried  and  forgotten.  Mr.  Sydney  Brooks,  in 
his  very  able  article  on  "  Aspects  of  the  Religious 
Question  in  Ireland,"  which  appears  in  the  February 
number  of  the  Fortnightly  Review,  puts  the  case 
very  strongly.  He  says  :  "  It  may  be  doubted  .  .  . 
whether  the  Catholic  Church  at  all  desires  Ireland 
to  be  a  very  different  country.  As  devout  Roman 
Catholics,  putting  the  Church  before  any  mundane 
interest,  they  have  every  reason  to  be  satisfied  with 
Ireland,  and  the  Irish  people,  and  I  will  add,  with 
the  British  Government  in  Ireland,  just  as  they  are. 
From  the  point  of  view  of  the  Church,  there  can  hardly 
be  any  change  which  is  not  a  change  for  the  worse  ; 

104        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

in  the  eyes  of  a  zealous  hierarchy  the  Ireland  of 
to-day  must  be  very  nearly  the  ideal  country.  The 
people  dwindle,  but  the  Church  thrives  ;  emigration 
continues,  but  those  who  are  left  behind  seem  to 
yield  themselves  more  and  more  to  priestly  guidance 
and  authority.  Convents  and  monasteries  multiply, 
Irish  missionaries  scatter  over  the  world,  the  wealth 
and  power  and  property  of  the  Church  grow 
from  year  to  year,  and  British  statesmanship  have 
thoroughly  assimilated  the  maxim,  that  the  road 
to  peace  lies  in  governing  Ireland  in  and  through 
the  priesthood.^ f 

These  are  weighty  words  and  worthy  of  careful 
consideration.  I  quote  them  because  they  come 
from  the  pen  of  a  careful  and  unprejudiced  observer, 
and  because  they  bear  out  what  became  a  conviction 
with  me  while  travelling  especially  in  the  South  of 

As  I  propose  giving  in  another  chapter,  my  reasons 
for  believing  that  the  Roman  Church  has  the  gravest 
cause  for  regarding  Home  Rule  with  apprehension  if 
not  with  fear,  I  will  not  deal  further  with  it  now. 
I  cannot,  however,  help  quoting  another  passage 
from  Mr.  Brooks'  article,  because  it  seems  so  pungent 
and  strikes  so  deeply. 

"  It  would  be  perhaps,"  he  says,  "  too  blunt  a  way 
of  putting  it  to  say  that  the  Church  in  Ireland  is  for 
Home  Rule  only  so  long  as  it  is  sure  of  not  getting  it." 

The  truth  is  the  Church  of  Rome  in  Ireland  is 


playing  a  waiting  game.  Her  policy  there,  as  it  has 
been  in  every  part  of  the  world,  is  the  policy  summed 
up  in  the  lines  of  the  famous  song — 

And  whatsoever  king  may  reign 
Still  I'll  be  Vicar  of  Bray,  sir. 

The  one  thought  of  the  Roman  Church  is  its  own 
aggrandisement  and  power.  Whatever  laws  are 
passed,  she  will  seek  to  utilise  those  laws  for  her  own 
advancement.  If  it  suits  her,  she  will  endeavour  to 
drive  a  coach  and  four  through  any  Act  of  Parlia- 
ment, as  she  has  done  in  the  case  of  the  Irish  Univer- 
sity Act,  and  she  will  laugh  at  the  safeguards  as 
Cardinal  Logue  laughed  at  the  safeguards  in  that  Bill. 
Her  power  is  great,  but  great  only  when  the  people 
are  under  her  dominion.  If  there  is  anything  she 
hates,  it  is  a  free  people  who  dare  to  think  their 
own  thoughts,  and  act  according  to  their  judgment. 
She  wants  to  think  for  them  and  judge  for  them. 
She  is  best  pleased  with  a  nation  of  intellectual  slaves, 
who  will  unquestioningly  follow  her  bidding.  All 
through  the  ages  the  thumbscrew,  the  rack,  and 
the  faggot  have  been  her  instruments  for  dealing 
with  free  enquiry  and  the  right  of  private  judgment. 
As  a  priest  in  Ireland  told  me,  "  We  only  interfere 
with  politics  when  questions  of  faith  and  morals  are 
involved."  But  what  political  question  under 
heaven  is  there  of  which  the  priest  cannot  say  that 
faith  and  morals  are  involved  ? 

106   IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

It  has  been  wisely  said  that  you  cannot  argue  with 
a  prophet,  and  it  is  always  a  very  dangerous  thing 
to  prophesy ;  nevertheless,  I  have  little  doubt  as  to 
the  course  of  events.  Assuming  that  a  Home  Rule 
Bill  is  brought  in  at  any  early  date,  the  Roman  Church 
will  silently  wait  until  its  details  are  known  to  the 
world.  Doubtless  Archbishop  Walsh  and  Cardinal 
Logue  know  more  about  it  now  than  is  known  to  nine- 
tenths  of  the  members  of  Parliament,  but  they  will 
say  nothing  about  it.  By  the  time  the  particulars  of 
the  Bill  are  known  to  the  world  they  will  have  made 
up  their  minds.  If  it  does  not  satisfy  the  minimum 
of  their  demands,  they  will  cause  Convention  to 
condemn  it  root  and  branch.  They  will  say  that  it 
is  only  playing  at  self-government,  and  call  it  a 
sham,  and  an  insult  to  the  Irish  people,  and  do  their 
best  to  arouse  popular  antagonism  to  it.  Possibly 
they  will  kill  it  as  they  killed  the  Irish  Councils 
Bill.  But  of  one  thing  we  may  be  sure :  the  great 
question  asked  will  be,  "  How  does  it  affect  the 
Church  ?  "  and  we  may  depend  that  if  the  Church  is 
in  any  degree  robbed  of  her  power  or  her  privileges, 
all  the  might  of  clericalism  will  be  brought  against 
it,  and  the  reason  given  will  be  that  it  is  opposed  to 
the  best  interests  of  the  people  at  large. 

If  the  Bill  gives  a  liberal  grant  of  self-government, 
however,  and  appeals  to  the  imagination  of  the 
people  as  the  thing  they  have  waited  for,  then  the 
hierarchy,  although  not  wanting  Home  Rule,  will 


not  oppose  it ;  rather,  those  who  are  at  the  helm 
will  take  some  measure  of  credit  to  themselves  for 
forcing  a  Protestant  Government  to  do  justice  to 
Ireland.  They  dare  not  oppose  it,  for  they  know 
that  the  time  is  gone  when  they  can  dare  to  oppose 
the  will  of  a  nation.  Not  that  the  nation  would 
disobey,  but  they  would  know  that  the  people  would 
look  upon  them  as  enemies  to  the  national  sentiment. 
If  the  Unionists  succeed  in  destroying  the  Bill,  the 
Church  will  again  make  it  appear  that  its  leaders 
favoured  self-government  for  Ireland,  and  will  throw 
all  the  blame  on  English  and  Irish  Protestants. 

But  of  this  we  may  be  sure  :  the  Church  will  seek 
to  safeguard  its  own  interests,  and  preserve  its  own 
power.  It  will  seize  upon  every  opportunity  which 
any  new  conditions  offer  ta  uphold  the  claims  of  a 
power  which  is  tottering  in  almost  every  Roman 
Catholic  country  in  the  world,  it  will  hold  tena- 
ciously to  every  shred  of  privilege  which  it  now 

If  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  can  make  Home 
Rule  Rome  Rule,  we  may  be  sure  that  she  will. 
Never  was  that  Church  so  greedy  of  power  as  she  is 
to-day,  and  never  was  she  so  loud  in  her  demands. 
Doubtless  there  are  reasons  for  this.  During  the  last 
half-century  she  has  seen  whole  nations  slip  from 
her  grasp,  and  she  is  eager  not  only  to  retain  what 
she  already  holds,  but  to  conquer  new  lands.  There- 
fore, she  will  seek  to  hold  what  she  has  in  Ireland 

io8        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

like  grim  death,  and  will  fight  desperately  to  obtain 
new  positions  of  advantage.  In  this  respect  the 
fears  of  Ulstermen  are  not  without  foundation. 
Nevertheless,  I  believe  the  Church  of  Rome  dreads 
and  fears  Home  Rule.  As  I  said,  she  will  doubtless 
make  the  best  of  it,  but  it  will  be  in  the  spirit  of  a 
man  who  makes  the  best  of  a  bad  bargain,  who  all  the 
time  seeks  to  recoup  himself  for  what  he  has  lost. 
She  will  not  oppose  it,  because  she  dare  not,  but  I 
am  convinced  she  does  not  want  it. 



IN  considering  the  question  whether  Home  Rule 
for  Ireland  would  mean  Rome  Rule,  one  fact 
has  for  ever  been  forcing  itself  upon  me.  Ireland 
has  Rome  Rule  now.  No  one  who  travels  through 
Ireland,  reads  the  newspapers,  talks  with  its  people, 
and  studies  its  life,  can  deny  it.  It  is  like  the 
word  "  backsheesh  "  to  the  traveller  in  Egypt — he 
hears  it  on  landing  at  Alexandria,  and  it  is  constantly 
dinned  into  his  ears  wherever  he  goes.  Years  ago, 
when  travelling  in  the  East,  I  had  experience  of  this. 
On  my  first  landing,  during  the  whole  time  I  was  in 
Cairo,  when  I  went  to  the  great  pyramids  and  after- 
wards visited  the  far-off  villages  and  ruined  cities 
on  the  banks  of  the  Nile,  the  word  more  frequently 
spoken  than  any  other  was  "  backsheesh."  Children 
screamed  it,  women  whined  it,  and  men  shouted  it. 
In  like  manner  one  is  met  with  the  fact  of  Rome 
Rule  in  Ireland.  During  my  interview  with  many 
people  in  the  three  provinces  of  the  Emerald  Isle 
which  I  visited,  the  conversation  invariably  turned 


no    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

to  this  one  topic.  Whether  Home  Rule  would  mean 
Rome  Rule  may  be  a  debatable  subject,  but  the 
fact  that  Rome  rules  Ireland  now  is  certain.  At 
Belfast  people  constantly  harped  on  it.  Home 
Rule  meant  Rome  Rule.  Why  did  it  mean  Rome 
Rule  ?  and  the  reply  invariably  given  was  "  Rome 
rules  now.'*  There  is  no  phase  of  life  into  which 
the  Roman  priest  does  not  enter,  there  is  no  phase 
of  life  except  in  one  part  of  Ulster  that  he  does  not 

In  Chapters  III.  and  IV.  I  have  tried  to  state 
the  Ulsterman's  objection  to  Home  Rule,  and  the 
truth  underlying  all  the  facts,  and  statements,  and 
arguments  is  this.  The  burden  of  the  prosperous 
Protestant  Ulsterman's  protest  was  "  Rome  is  our 
enemy,  and  Rome  rules."  When  I  went  to  Leinster 
the  same  truth  was  evident  everywhere,  while  in  the 
towns  and  villages  of  Munster  the  fact  is  still  more 
apparent.  The  affairs  of  Ireland  are  dominated  by 
the  Church.  Of  course,  other  influences  and  forces 
are  at  work,  but  at  the  back  of  them  all  is  the  great 
power  which  dominates  and  controls. 

It  is  an  interesting  fact,  and  no  one  can  understand, 
or  begin  to  understand,  Ireland  without  realising  it. 
It  is  not  something  obscure ;  it  is  writ  large  all  over 
the  country.  No  one  can  study  Irish  history  without 
being  impressed  by  it.  Statesmen  may  legislate, 
Parliaments  may  pass  laws,  and  the  nation's  officials 
may  seek  to  enforce  them,  but  it  is  the  Church 
that  rules. 


Think  of  the  outstanding  features  of  Irish  life  and 
it  becomes  apparent.  Travel  through  the  country 
from  end  to  end,  and  it  meets  you  at  every  turn. 
You  pass  through  village  after  village,  and  you  see 
standing  amidst  a  number  of  squalid  huts  a  great 
gaudy  church,  a  comfortable  presbytery,  and  very 
probably  a  large  nunnery  or  monastery.  From 
whence  comes  the  money  to  build  the  gaudy  church, 
the  well-built  presbytery,  and  the  huge  nunneries  and 
monasteries  ?  It  comes  in  the  main  from  the  people 
who  live  in  the  wretched  cabins.  And  just  as 
architecturally  the  church  buildings  tower  over  the 
hovels,  so  does  the  priest,  the  Church,  tower  over 
the  life  of  the  people  and  dominate  it.  Rome  rules. 

Glance  rapidly  at  the  questions  which  naturally 
appeal  to  any  one  who  takes  an  intelligent  interest 
in  the  life  of  a  nation. 

Begin  with  education.  Who  controls  the  educa- 
tion of  Ireland  ?  It  is  true  that  a  section  of  it  is 
apparently  controlled  by  the  various  Protestant  com- 
munions, but  in  the  main  the  man  at  the  helm  of 
Irish  education  is  the  priest,  both  in  the  elementary 
schools,  in  the  training  colleges,  and  in  the  univer- 
sities. The  priests  of  Ireland  have,  as  we  have  said, 
between  seven  and  eight  thousand  teachers  absolutely 
under  their  control.  They  have  almost  unlimited 
control  of  the  money  paid  to  them  by  the  State  for 
the  upkeep  of  the  schools.  There  is  scarcely  a 
shadow  of  public  control.  The  priest  is  not  bothered 


by  committees  or  by  boards.  If  the  teacher  is  not  the 
obedient  slave  of  the  priest,  if  in  opinion  or  action 
he  or  she  acts  contrary  to  the  will  of  the  "  spiritual 
father  "  of  the  parish  dismissal  naturally  follows. 
What  teacher  dares  to  disobey  ?  He  is  hedged  in  on 
every  side.  His  faith  commands  entire  obedience  to 
his  "  pastor  and  master,"  and  even  if  this  were  not  so, 
his  livelihood,  his  future  career  would  be  destroyed 
if  he  dared  to  have  any  opinions  of  his  own.  If 
a  parish  priest  discharges  a  teacher,  no  matter  on 
what  pretext,  what  can  that  teacher  do  ?  All  the 
Roman  Catholic  schools  in  the  land  are  under  the 
same  authority,  and  therefore  that  teacher's  career  is 
blighted,  ruined.  As  a  consequence,  the  teachers  are 
in  the  very  nature  of  things  the  blind,  obedient 
servants  of  the  Church  which  rules. 

Then  the  "  atmosphere "  of  those  schools  is 
naturally  "  Catholic/'  and  every  child  is  not  only 
trained  in  the  tenets  of  the  Church,  but  breathes  the 
air  of  the  Church.  It  is  taught  the  most  ultramon- 
tane doctrines  in  relation  to  the  Church,  and  there- 
fore it  grows  up  obedient  to  the  priest. 

For  the  moment  I  am  not  objecting  to  this ; 
I  am  only  stating  the  fact,  and  it  bears  out  my 
contention  that  you  have  Rome  Rule  in  Ireland  on 
educational  matters.  I  do  not  see  how,  under  any 
administration  or  any  form  of  government,  the 
Church  could  rule  over  primary  education  more 
completely  than  it  rules  now. 


If  you  pass  from  the  education  of  the  children  to 
the  training  of  teachers,  the  same  truth  stares  you  in 
the  face.  The  Church  would  not  have  its  teachers 
trained  in  the  same  college  as  Protestants  ;  there- 
fore, she  obtained  grants  to  establish  five  training 
colleges  of  her  own  under  the  absolute  management 
of  the  priests.  The  Church  begins  with  life  at  the 
fountain,  and  because  she  has  done  this,  and  con- 
tinues to  do  it,  she  holds  the  nation  in  the  hollow  of 
her  hand. 

We  have  seen  how  she  has  dealt  with  the 
University  Acts,  and  how  Cardinal  Logue's  boast 
has  become  an  actual  fact.  While,  beyond  all  this, 
their  great  Maynooth  College,  which  exclusively 
exists  for  the  training  of  priests,  is  fed  by  the  State. 
No  less  than  £26,360  a  year  comes  from  the  public 
purse  to  train  young  priests  for  their  work.  If  this 
is  not  Rome  Rule,  what  is  ? 

Then  take  the  question  of  the  newspapers.  Of 
course,  in  Ulster,  where  you  have  a  large  Protestant 
population,  you  can  have  a  free  press.  This  also 
obtains  in  Dublin,  where  perhaps  a  third  of  the 
inhabitants  are  Protestants,  and  possibly  in  one 
or  two  other  large  towns  ;  but  in  the  small  towns 
and  rural  districts,  the  Church  rules  the  press. 
Unless  the  newspaper  is  the  obedient  mouthpiece  of 
the  Church,  it  is  killed.  You  hear,  here  and  there, 
of  the  proprietor  of  a  newspaper,  or  a  large-minded 
editor,  who  refuses  to  subordinate  the  principles  he 


H4        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

holds  dear  to  the  interest  of  the  clerics  ;  he  dares  to 
think  for  himself,  he  advocates  schemes  for  liberating 
and  uplifting  the  people.  He  pleads  for  a  regenerated 
Ireland.  But  he  is  rarely  ever  strong  enough  to  do 
battle  with  the  priest,  who  controls  the  purse,  con- 
trols the  opinions  and  consciences  of  the  people. 
As  a  consequence,  there  is,  as  far  as  I  can  find  out, 
but  one  opinion  in  the  south  and  west  of  Ireland, 
Rome  rules  the  press  of  the  Emerald  Isle. 

One  has  only  to  give  this  matter  a  moment's 
reflection  to  realise  the  importance  of  this.  The 
newspaper  is  a  great  educator.  In  England  it  is 
one  of  the  most  powerful  factors  for  the  dissemi- 
nation of  light.  Almost  every  subject  is  brought 
under  its  purview,  and  every  aspect  of  our  nation's 
life  is  freely  discussed.  But  not  so  in  Ireland. 
Except  in  larger  centres  of  population  only  one  side 
of  the  truth  is  made  manifest,  and  every  thing  which 
the  Church  condemns  is  kept  out  of  the  newspapers. 
It  is  almost  impossible  for  the  people  to  get  a  true 
idea  of  the  thoughts  that  are  surging  in  the  minds 
of  a  free  people. 

All  this  is  naturally  bound  up  in  another  fact. 
The  Church  has  the  power  to  do  these  things, 
because  it  has  almost  illimitable  power  over  the 
lives  of  the  people.  It  is  almost  impossible  to  realise 
this  unless  you  get  into  close  contact  with  them. 
One  day  in  the  province  of  Munster  I  was  introduced 
to  a  man  who  was  described  as  a  "  good  Catholic/' 


who  was  also  a  man  of  "  liberal  opinions."  As  this 
seemed  to  be  a  rare  phenomenon,  if  not  a  contra- 
diction of  terms,  I  was  much  interested  in  talking 
with  him.  He  told  me  that  he  did  not  always  see 
eye  to  eye  with  priests,  and  although  he  went  to 
confession  regularly,  he  took  his  own  course  on 
political  matters. 

"  There  have  been  times,"  he  said,  "  when  I  have 
voted  in  opposition  to  the  priest's  opinion,  and 
should  do  so  again  under  similar  conditions." 

"  But  let  us  come  to  a  concrete  case,"  I  said. 
"  Suppose  the  question  of  education  were  involved. 
Suppose  it  was  the  priest's  will  that  you  should 
vote  in  a  certain  way  on  this  matter  of  education, 
because  it  touched  the  moral  and  religious  life  of 
the  child,  what  then  ?  " 

"  Oh,  in  that  case,"  he  replied,  "  I  should  of  course 
do  what  the  priest  told  me." 

It  can  be  seen,  therefore,  how  far  this  man's  liberty 
went.  As  I  have  before  stated,  an  eminent  ecclesias- 
tic told  me  the  priest  did  not  interfere  with  politics 
except  in  so  far  as  politics  touched  the  question  of 
faith  and  morals.  But  what  subject  is  there  of  any 
importance  where  "  faith  and  morals "  are  not 
involved  ? 

I  cannot  perhaps  do  better  here  than  to  quote 
some  passages  from  a  book  which  is  widely  read 
among  the  more  educated  people  in  Ireland,  and 
which  gives  as  true  a  picture  of  many  phases  of 

n6    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Irish  life  as  it  is  possible  to  find.  It  is  a  book 
entitled  "  Economics  for  Irishmen/'  and  is  written 
by  a  man  who  is  an  Irishman,  who  has  studied  the 
life  of  his  country  closely  for  many  years,  who  is  a 
Roman  Catholic,  and  who  is  also  a  literary  man,  in 
the  best  sense  of  the  word.  He  writes  for  at  least 
one  English  review  of  high  standing,  and,  as  I  was 
frequently  informed,  dares  to  tell  the  truth.  He 
writes  under  the  nom  de  plume  of  "  Pat."  In  the 
last  chapter  of  the  volume  he  deals  with  "The 
Economic  Influence  of  Religion."  In  this  chapter  he 
writes  as  follows  : — 

"  One  of  the  first  economic  necessities  of  Ireland 
to-day  is  to  teach  the  priest  in  Maynooth  .  .  .  how 
to  draw  the  line  at  making  a  secular  instrument  of 
his  sacred  privilege.  Liberty  is  essential  to  character, 
and  character  is  essential  to  progress,  economic  or 
otherwise ;  but  progress  of  any  kind  is  plainly 
impossible  in  so  far  as  one  class  of  men  dictates 
their  liberty,  their  character,  and  their  conduct  in 
all  concerns  to  all  the  other  classes. 

"  A  priest,  well  educated  and  spiritually  alive  to 
his  mission,  could  hardly  turn  it  into  a  secular 
instrument,  and  wherever  we  meet  such  a  priest,  he 
usually  confines  his  privilege  to  its  purpose,  going 
into  secular  affairs  merely  in  his  character  as  a 
citizen,  and  accepting  the  conditions  of  any  other 
man  ;  but  so  rare  is  this  that  the  public  have  come  to 
regard  the  opposite  as  inevitable. 


"  I  remember  how,  when  a  little  boy,  we  regarded 
the  '  black  man/  who  inspired  our  awe,  but  never  our 
love ;  how  we  grew  up  to  think  of  him  as  the  only 
person  whose  judgment  could  have  much  value,  in 
religion  or  in  anything  else  ;  how  it  was  assumed  as  a 
religious  duty  that  any  attempt  to  differ  from  him, 
even  about  the  parish  pump,  must  destroy  our  busi- 
ness, or  otherwise  make  *  us  an  example  to  the 
parish ' ;  how  the  '  education '  we  got  under  his 
4  management '  made  us  despise  industry,  especially 
the  industry  by  which  we  lived  ;  how  he  petted  the 
child  of  the  wealthy  publican  and  ignored  or  intimi- 
dated the  child  of  the  poor  peasant.  In  such  cir- 
cumstances, how  is  youth  to  develop  character  for 
initiative,  for  economic  or  social  enterprises  ?  .  .  . 

'  Teachers  are  snubbed  by  their  priest  for  wishing 
to  work  little  farms  in  connection  with  their  schools 
for  the  benefit  of  the  young  peasants,  but  that  is  only 
a  detail  in  the  elaborate  enslavement  of  the  teacher, 
whose  manager  (the  priest)  may  even  send  to  the 
commissioners  a  '  confidential '  report  against  him 
without  affording  him  a  possibility  of  defending 

'  The  priest's  attitude  is  usually  this  :  '  I  am  the 
Church  ;  therefore,  when  you  oppose  me  you  oppose 
the  Church/  even  though  the  subject  is  only  butter. 
The  priest  will  neither  leave  lay  matters  to  laymen, 
nor  allow  them  to  apply  lay  canons  to  him  when  he 
interferes.  We  give  up  our  judgment  to  him  in 

n8    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

theology,  and  he  must  have  it  as  in  butter  and 
bacon  as  well.  Very  often  the  layman  who  would 
lead  the  creamery,  or  bacon  factory  to  success,  is 
exactly  the  one  whom  the  priest  dislikes,  and  lest 
the  layman  should  succeed,  the  enterprise  must  fail ; 
to  have  the  priest  at  the  top,  Ireland  must  go 
down.  .  » *  ' 

"  Nothing  is  more  firmly  fixed  in  the  minds  of 
many  shopkeepers,  and  their  peasant  customers, 
than  that  the  prosperity  or  destruction  of  their 
business  is  at  the  will  of  the  priest,  and  I  know 
numerous  families  that  have  been  impoverished  in 
this  way,  while  others  have  risen  from  misery  to 
wealth,  through  the  priest's  partiality.  In  many 
places  it  is  enough  to  know  simply  that  the  priest 
does  not  wish  the  people  to  go  to  a  certain  shop. 
The  wish  generally  becomes  known  in  some  way, 
and  then  down  goes  that  shop,  often  the  shop  of  a 
good  fellow,  while  a  pious  ruffian  prospers  under 
clerical  approval  at  the  other  side  of  the  street.  .  .  . 

"  I  know  a  doctor  who  is  told  by  his  neighbours 
that  they  would  prefer  to  employ  him,  but  they 
are  afraid,  because  the  priest  wants  them  to  employ 
'  his  own  doctor.' 

"  A  man  bought  a  farm  on  which  the  local  priest 
had  some  acres  from  year  to  year.  The  new  owner 
was  willing  to  continue  the  arrangement,  but  the 
priest  insisted  on  setting  up  a  title  of  his  own,  in 
return  for  absolutely  nothing.  Because  the  farmer 


would  not  hand  over  to  him  one  hundred  pounds 
worth  of  his  own  property  for  nothing,  the  priest 
organised  a  boycott  against  him,  and  on  these  facts 
he  had  a  police  hut  near  to  his  house  for  several 
years  to  follow.  The  priest's  own  parishioners  knew 
very  well  the  immortal  tyranny  of  that  boycott, 
but  not  a  man  of  them  ever  dared  to  stand  up  for 
honesty  or  liberty  against  the  priest.  This  time  the 
victim  was  a  Protestant. 

.  .  .  "  A  priest  says,  '  Any  man  that  does  not 
vote  for  my  candidate  is  a  black  sheep  in  the  flock.' 
Another  says,  in  a  '  sermon '  about  the  '  Christmas 
collection,'  '  If  I  find  any  one  who  does  not  pay  I'll 
take  Care  that  he  is  exposed.  ...  If  I  find  any  one 
does  not  pay  more  than  a  shilling,  I'll  have  his  name 
sounded  all  over  the  parish  ! ' 

'  The  boycotting  examples  are  the  most  interesting 
of  all.  A  layman  differs  from  the  priest  on  a  matter 
of  butter,  bacon,  or  politics,  and  at  once  it  is  known 
'  that  the  priest  is  agin  hkn,'  the  mob  is  let  loose  on 
him,  many  of  them  thieves,  who  regard  it  as  a  virtue 
to  rob  him,  and  who  even  if  they  go  to  gaol,  are  still 
'  on  the  priest's  side,'  under  the  redeeming  approval 
of '  the  only  true  religion.'  The  process  is  essentially 
cruel ;  its  methods  essentially  savage,  and  the 
religion  of  Christ  is  employed  by  the  priest  as  its 
driving  power." 

In  connection  with  these  instances,  and  many 
others  which  I  have  not  space  to  quote,  the  writer 

120    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

says,  "  Each  is  a  case  typical  of  many  I  have  per- 
sonally investigated,  but  there  is  no  need  to  get 
individuals  into  trouble  by  giving  names  and 
addresses,  for  it  will  be  readily  seen  that  the  facts 
are  only  such  as  can  be  found  in  most  of  Ireland. 
7  know  of  fifty  to  the  one  I  mention" 

Of  course,  to  an  Englishman  all  this  seems  like 
gross  exaggeration,  but  to  the  Irishman  it  is  common- 
place. The  question  will  naturally  be  asked,  Why 
do  not  the  people  rise  as  one  man  and  put  an  end 
once  and  for  ever  to  such  a  state  of  things  ?  I  reply 
that  we  do  not  know  the  strength  of  priestly 
dominance.  Remember  that  the  Irishman  is 
essentially  religious,  largely  superstitious,  and  that 
to  him  the  priest's  voice  is  the  voice  of  the  Church, 
and  that  the  voice  of  the  Church  is  the  voice  of  God. 
He  knows  that  the  priest  has  almost  unlimited 
power  on  earth,  and  he  firmly  believes  he  has  the 
keys  of  heaven,  and  that  through  him  alone  he 
can  obtain  eternal  felicity,  but  that  if  the  priest  is 
against  him  there  is  nothing  but  the  ghastly  torments 
of  an  eternal  hell.  When  you  once  grasp  that  fact,  you 
begin  to  understand  Rome  Rule  in  Ireland. 

Again,  this  writer  says  :  "  Unlike  any  other  kind 
of  Christian  the  Catholic  concedes  to  the  priest  all 
right  of  judgment  with  authority  in  religion — that  is, 
the  most  exalting  concession  that  one  man  can  ever 
make  to  another,  and  one  also  representing  a  pro- 
found principle  in  Christian  Ethics.  In  accordance 


with  this  principle,  the  peasant  may  rise  to  the 
highest  place  in  the  highest  temple,  and  the  world 
has  hardly  a  more  beautiful  example  of  faith  than 
the  grey  patrician  of  fifty  generations,  bowed  for 
the  blessing  of  the  new-made  curate  who  may  have 
started  from  the  stable ;  but  when  that  curate  has 
'  got  his  parish,'  expands  his  exclusive  judgment  on 
religion  into  his  exclusive  judgment  on  everything 
else,  lays  down  the  law  for  patrician  and  plebeian 
together,  dictates  his  policy  to  the  statesman,  his 
fees  to  the  doctor,  his  voting  to  the  citizen,  their 
'  opinions '  to  the  public,  and  so  turns  his  sacred 
privilege  into  a  secular  weapon ;  then  the  highest 
things  we  know  are  dragged  in  the  dirt,  and  character 
economic  and  otherwise  is  sunk  under  a  confusion 
of  standards  that  tend  to  make  the  individual  a 
machine  rather  than  a  man,  with  heaven  itself 
pressed  into  the  process  of  human  demoralisation. 

That  is  what  we  have  to-day  in  Ireland " 

I  have  quoted  at  length  from  this  writer  because  he 
knows  Ireland  intimately,  and  therefore  can  speak 
with  an  assurance  and  a  certainty  impossible  to  me. 
I  have  quoted  him,  too,  because  while  he  is  a  Roman 
Catholic,  he  has  so  far  freed  himself  from  the  fetters 
of  which  he  speaks  as  to  dare  to  speak  the  truth. 
I  ask  the  reader  to  weigh  his  words  well,  then 
I  am  sure  he  will  agree  with  me,  that  in  this — the 
most  vital  question  of  life — Rome  rules  in  Ireland 

122    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

From  what  we  have  seen,  moreover,  it  will  be 
easy  to  understand  how  Rome  holds  the  purse  of 
the  country.  I  mentioned  in  a  previous  chapter  that 
it  was  freely  said  in  Dublin  that  Archbishop  Walsh 
could  break  two  of  the  largest  banks  in  Ireland  by  a 
few  strokes  of  his  pen.  Of  course,  this  means  that  he 
is  the  trustee  of  the  Church,  and  vast  properties 
belonging  to  the  Church  are  vested  in  his  name. 
When  one  gives  the  slightest  attention  to  Irish 
affairs  it  is  not  difficult  to  believe.  On  every  hand 
is  Church  property,  while  the  gifts  of  the  faithful 
must  be  enormous. 

Mr.  Sydney  Brooks,  in  the  article  in  the  Fortnightly 
Review,  to  which  I  have  already  referred,  says: — 

"  The  Church  is  the  second  Irish  landlord,  and  the 
yearly  tribute  it  receives  can  be  little,  if  at  all  less, 
than  the  moneys  annually  paid  out  by  the  people,  in 
rent  and  purchase  instalments.  What  becomes  of  it 
all,  no  one  knows.  The  laity  are  excluded  from  the 
smallest  share  of  Church  administration,  and  no 
priest  in  Ireland  renders  any  a&count  of  the  sums 
that  pass  into  his  hands.  One  reads  in  the 
papers  of  an  endless  flow  of  bequests  into  the 
ecclesiastical  exchequer,  of  the  expensiveness  of 
marriage  and  burial  fees,  and  of  the  generous 
proceeds  of  the  Easter  and  Christmas  offerings,  and 
of  the  half-yearly  '  stations,'  at  which  the  priest 
collects  his  due  in  person." 

Let  any  one  consider  what  this  means,  and  he  will 


realise  the  enormous  power  the  priest,  the  Church, 
has,  and  how  it  must  reflect  on  the  national  and 
individual  life.  It  will  be  easily  seen,  too,  that  the 
people  depend  on  the  priests  for  promotion,  and 
for  desired  positions  in  life. 

I  was  repeatedly  told  while  in  Ireland,  that  the 
priest  is  fully  cognisant  of  the  incomes  of  the  various 
members  of  the  flock,  and  very  often  of  the  condi- 
tion of  their  banking  account.  Even  in  Govern- 
ment offices,  where  the  amount  of  salaries  is  sup- 
posed to  be  secret,  they  have  succeeded  in  learning 
the  details  of  those  salaries,  and  are  thereby  able 
to  extract  the  utmost  farthing  from  the  faithful* 
It  Is  also  well  known  that  Romanists,  if  possible, 
avoid  the  banks  where  the  manager  is  of  their  own 
faith,  while  it  is  commonly  said  that  a  Romanist 
seldom  becomes  a  bank  manager.  The  reason  for 
this  is  obvious. 

As  Mr.  Sydney  Brooks  says :  "  The  universal 
preference  in  Ireland  for  dealing  only  with  the  banks 
that  have  Protestant  managers  is  due  to  the  fear 
that  otherwise  the  priest  might  learn  the  size  of 
each  customer's  account,  and  increase  his  demands 
accordingly,  and  the  Irish  trick  of  looking  and  living 
below  one's  means,  while  it  was  fostered  by  land- 
lordism and  mis-government,  is  undoubtedly  main- 
tained by  the  dread  of  priestly  exactions." 

In  this  connection,  as  in  nearly  all  others,  the 
power  of  the  Confessional  plays  an  important  part. 

124    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

While  visiting  more  than  one  house  of  Protestants 
in  Ireland  I  found  that  the  family  conversed 
in  whispers  when  any  question  of  importance  was 
introduced.  "  We  have  found  it  wise,"  they  told  me. 
"  Past  experience  has  told  us  that  certain  things  have 
reached  the  priests'  ears  which  could  only  have 
reached  them  through  servants.  More  than  once 
we  have  found  that  matters  which  we  regarded  as 
secret,  and  which  have  never  passed  our  lips  outside 
the  house,  have  been  known  to  the  parish  priest,  and 
we  have  been  absolutely  certain  that  he  could  only 
have  known  them  through  the  servant." 

I  need  not  enlarge  on  the  power  which  the  priest 
obtains  over  the  faithful  through  the  Confessional, 
while  his  knowledge  of  the  private  affairs  of  even 
others  than  his  own  flock  is  easily  explained. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  there  is  not  the  slightest 
doubt  that  the  priests'  control  over  the  money  of 
Ireland  is  simply  enormous,  while  that  control 
makes  Rome  Rule  in  Ireland  more  complete. 

In  this  respect,  I  am  not  for  the  moment  blaming 
the  priests.  They  do  what  they  believe  to  be  their 
duty,  as  instructed  by  the  Church  which  is  to  them 
the  great,  if  not  the  only,  thing  on  earth.  Neither 
do  I  hint  that  they  are  bad  men.  Indeed,  from  what 
I  can  learn,  many  of  them  are  good,  devoted,  faithful 
men.  The  charges  which  are  so  often  brought 
against  Continental  priests  in  the  matter  of  sexual 
immorality  rarely  have  any  meaning  in  Ireland, 


As  a  body  they  are  absolutely  free  from  this  taint, 
and  in  so  far  as  they  are  blameless  in  this  respect, 
their  influence  is  doubtless  increased.  I  believe, 
too,  that  in  thousands  of  cases  they  are  loyal 
friends,  as  well  as  faithful  pastors,  of  their 
flocks.  But  they  would  be  more  than  human  if  they 
did  not  abuse  the  tremendous  powers  which  they 
possess.  We  must  remember,  too,  that  the  priest 
has  in  many  cases  become  not  only  the  spiritual  as 
well  as  the  temporal  dictator  of  the  people,  but 
that  he  has  become  so  because  he  is  their  traditional 
friend.  At  one  time  in  Irish  history,  he  was  their 
only  faithful  friend,  and  because  he  has  often  been  the 
only  educated  man  in  an  ignorant  community,  he  has 
been  everything  to  them.  Even  now  in  certain  parts 
he  is  simply  everything  to  his  flock.  He  is  their 
spiritual  shepherd,  he  is  their  teacher,  general 
adviser,  family  lawyer,  doctor,  politician,  land  agent 
— indeed,  it  is  difficult  to  say  what  he  is  not.  In 
the  past  he  was  all  these  things  almost  universally, 
and  therefore  it  is  no  wonder  that  the  people  yield 
to  him. 

Besides  all  this,  the  priest  is  in  nearly  all  cases  one 
of  themselves.  He  came  from  their  cottages,  knows 
their  struggles,  and  is  therefore  able  to  sympathise 
with  them  in  these  struggles.  He  does  not  come 
from  the  rich  man's  house  as  is  so  often  the  case  in 
the  Church  of  England ;  he  belongs  to  their  own 

126    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Added  to  this,  he  has  in  the  past,  at  all  events, 
often  shared  their  sufferings,  and  more  than  once 
has  died  with  his  people. 

Let  all  this  be  admitted,  and  gladly  admitted ; 
for  while  power  has  often  made  him  cruel  and 
despotic,  many  priests  are  doubtless  faithful.  Never- 
theless, things  are  as  I  have  said ;  their  absolute 
authority  over  the  community  has,  instead  of  pro- 
ducing a  strong,  sturdy,  industrious,  self-reliant 
race  of  people,  resulted  in  ignorance,  servility, 
superstition,  and,  as  a  consequence,  decadence. 

There  are  signs,  encouraging  signs,  of  an  awaken- 
ing in  which  one  rejoices,  and  which  I  shall  have  to 
discuss  later;  but  at  present  the  Roman  Catholic 
part  of  the  nation  is  priest-ridden,  Church-ridden. 

Take  the  points  I  have  mentioned,  and  con- 
sider. The  Church  controls  education,  the  greater 
part  of  the  press,  individual  life,  and  a  vast  amount 
of  the  nation's  wealth,  how  can  it  be  otherwise  than 
that  Rome  Rule  should  obtain  in  Ireland  ? 

But  this  is  not  all.  When  we  discuss  the  question 
of  Home  Rule,  we  naturally  refer  to  the  government 
of  the  country.  We  think  of  the  legislators,  and  of 
the  laws  that  would  be  passed  in  Dublin.  Those 
who  fear  that  Home  Rule  would  be  Rome  Rule  say, 
and  say  very  naturally,  how  can  it  be  otherwise 
than  Rome  Rule,  when  at  least  three-fourths  of  the 
members  of  the  new  Parliament  would  be  under  the 
complete  control  of  the  Church  ?  How  can  it  be 


other  than  putting  the  Protestant  Minority  under 
the  domination  of  the  Romanist  Majority  ? 

I  insist,  on  the  other  hand,  that  you  have  Rome 
Rule  now.  Consider  the  legislation  concerning 
Irish  affairs  any  time  during  the  last  half-century, 
and  what  has  it  been  but  Rome  Rule  ?  What  has 
the  Church  of  Rome  wanted  which  the  Church  of 
Rome  has  not  obtained  ?  What  has  become  the 
law  of  Ireland  that  has  not  become  so  with  the 
assent  of  the  Roman  hierarchy  ? 

It  has  become  a  standing  joke  in  Ireland,  or  it 
would  be  a  joke,  if  it  were  not  so  serious,  that  if 
you  want  anything  done,  you  must  first  of  all  get  the 
consent  of  the  Church.  The  Lord  Lieutenant  of 
Ireland,  the  Chief  Secretary  for  Ireland,  have  prac- 
tically no  power  but  what  is  allowed  to  them  by 
those  who  speak  for  Rome.  These  highly-salaried 
officials  quickly  learn  that  in  order  to  do  anything 
they  must  have  the  Church  on  their  side.  The 
English  Government,  no  matter  which  party  is  in 
power,  is  like  a  henpecked  husband,  who  is  legally 
responsible  for  everything,  and  who  has  to  pay  all 
the  bills,  but  who  takes  his  orders  from  his  wife,  and 
dare  do  only  the  things  which  she  graciously  permits. 

We  speak  of  our  laws  as  supreme,  and  yet  when 
the  Church  of  Rome  overrides  them  the  Government 
stands  meekly  by  and  says  nothing.  We  claim 
that  the  laws  of  the  State  concerning  marriage 
are  binding  and  authoritative,  but  the  Roman 

128    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Church  issues  a  decree  that  a  marriage  of  a  Protestant 
with  a  Roman  Catholic,  unless  performed  by  a 
Roman  priest,  is  mere  concubinage,  that  it  is  not 
marriage  at  all,  and  that  the  offspring  of  such 
marriage  are  illegitimate.  It  goes  further,  and 
breaks  up  a  home,  and  leaves  a  mother  childless. 
But  does  the  Government  interfere  ?  Does  it 
condemn  the  Ne  Temere  decree  ?  If  it  has  done 
so,  I  have  never  heard  of  it. 

After  the  McCann  case  was  brought  to  light,  a 
great  meeting  was  held  in  London,  at  which  a 
resolution  was  passed  that  the  Prime  Minister  should 
be  asked  to  receive  a  deputation  on  the  Ne  Temere 
decree.  Did  he  receive  this  deputation  ?  If  so, 
what  result  has  there  been  ? 

If  the  Presbyterian  or  the  Episcopal  Churches  of 
Ireland  had  issued  a  decree  having  the  same 
effect  on  life  which  this  Ne  Temere  decree  has,  and 
the  Roman  Church  had  protested  against  it,  as  the 
Protestant  Church  has  protested  against  this  thing, 
would  no  notice  have  been  taken  ?  Would  the 
Irish  Parliament  have  allowed  the  matter  to  rest, 
until  it  had  been  repealed  ? 

After  reading  what  literature  I  can  on  the  question, 
and  after  making  the  most  careful  enquiries  I  have 
been  able  among  all  grades  of  society,  and  among 
people  holding  all  sorts  of  opinions  in  Ireland,  the 
conviction  has  been  forced  upon  me  that  it  is  almost 
impossible  for  Ireland  (with  the  exception  of  Ulster) 


to  be  more  under  Rome  Rule  than  it  is  at  present. 
To  quote  Mr.  Sydney  Brooks  again :  "  Protestant 
government  is  indeed  one  of  the  main  bulwarks  of  the 
secular  power  of  Irish  Catholicism.  Every  cfficial  in 
the  country,  from  the  Lord  Lieutenant  to  an  inspector 
on  the  staff  of  a  Board  of  Works,  quickly  learns  that 
to  get  anything  done  he  must  have  the  Church  on  his 
side.  Every  Secretary  of  State  soon  becomes  aware 
that  the  bishops  and  their  subordinates  are  their  most 
useful  friends  or  their  most  powerful  enemies — and 
never  more  powerful  than  when  they  appear  to  be 
altogether  indifferent  and  in  the  background — of  the 
policies  he  projects.  There  is  hardly  a  Board  or 
Council  or  Committee  anywhere  in  Ireland,  outside  of 
a  corner  of  Ulster,  that  is  not  directly  or  indirectly 
swayed  by  clerical  influence.  Whatever  party  is  in 
Power  in  Great  Britain,  the  Church  acts  largely  as  its 
intermediary  in  the  government  of  Ireland,  distributes 
no  small  proportion  of  the  official  patronage,  and  may 
always  be  sure  that  its  wishes  and  representations 
will  be  listened  to  with  the  most  cordial  deference. 
Its  hold  over  education  is  such  as  it  hardly  possesses 
in  any  other  land.'''  .  .  . 

This  would  seem  to  explain  why  no  steps  were 
taken  in  the  McCann  case  until  the  children  were 
placed  in  safe  keeping  under  Roman  Catholic  con- 
trol, and  it  explains,  too,  the  general  belief  that  the 
Lord  Lieutenant  and  Chief  Secretary  of  Ireland  are 
merely  instruments  doing  the  bidding  of  Rome,  and 


I3o         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

why  the  British  Government  is  laughed  at.  The 
British  Government  only  seems  to  rule  Ireland.  The 
Roman  Church  really  rules.  I  can  conceive  of  nothing 
more  humiliating  to  any  Government,  and  yet  if 
facts  prove  anything,  they  prove  this. 

And  here  lies  the  reason  of  Irish  troubles.  Any 
country  dominated  by  Rome  has  a  cancer  in  its 
body  corporate,  poisoning  its  life  blood,  and 
drying  the  springs  of  its  vitality. 

Charles  Dickens,  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Foster, 
written  from  Lausanne  in  1846,  says :  "I  don't 
know  whether  I  have  mentioned  it  before,  that  in 
the  valley  of  the  Simplon  hard  by  here,  where  this 
Protestant  Canton  ends,  and  a  Catholic  Canton 
begins,  you  might  separate  two  perfectly  distinct 
and  different  conditions  of  humanity  by  drawing  a 
line  with  your  stick  in  the  dust  on  the  ground. 
On  the  Protestant  side,  neatness,  cheerfulness, 
industry,  education,  continual  aspiration  at  least 
after  better  things.  On  the  Catholic  side,  dirt, 
disease,  ignorance,  squalor,  misery.  I  have  so 
constantly  observed  the  like  of  this  since  I  first 
came  abroad,  that  I  have  a  sad  misgiving  that  the 
religion  of  Ireland  lies  deep  at  the  root  of  all  its 

And  yet  no  one  can  pass  through  Ireland,  and 
meet  the  Irish  people,  without  loving  them.  By 
nature  they  are  a  sunny-hearted,  loving  people ; 
superstitious  and  emotional  no  doubt,  but  witty 


and  intelligent.  They  are  not  a  sullen,  sour  people, 
but  kind  and  forgiving ;  a  people  who  under  true 
influences  could  become  a  great  nation.  And  God 
Almighty  is  for  ever  calling  to  them,  saying,  "Arise, 
stand  upon  thy  feet,"  but  they  cannot,  they  dare  not. 
The  Church  of  Rome  will  not  permit. 
For  Ireland  is  under  Rome  Rule. 



IF  what  I  have  written  in  the  previous  chapter  is 
true,  if  Ireland  is  under  Rome  Rule  now,  and  every 
phase  of  Irish  Roman  Catholic  life  is  dominated 
by  Rome,  the  question  naturally  arises,  What  is 
the  power  that  can  break  the  tyranny  of  Rome  ? 
As  we  have  seen,  Acts  of  Parliament  avail  little 
as  long  as  the  Roman  Church  can  set  them  at 
defiance.  While  bishops  and  priests  hold  the  reins 
of  government  on  the  one  hand,  and  dominate  the 
life  of  the  people  on  the  other,  what  hope  is  there  ? 
Lord  Beaconsfield  once  said,  "  Countries  are  not 
governed  by  statesmen  and  parliaments,  but  by 
public  opinion/'  and  if  the  Church  of  Rome  rules 
in  Ireland,  it  is  because  they  have  an  obedient 
people  at  their  beck  and  call.  Rome  Rule  will 
remain  in  Ireland  until  you  have  an  independent 
people,  a  people  who  will  dare  to  think  and  act 
for  themselves  unhindered  by  the  dictum  of  priest 
and  Church." 



Here,  then,  is  the  problem  that  faces  any  one  who 
tries  to  take  an  intelligent  interest  in  the  life  of 
Ireland.  Acts  of  Parliament  will  mean  little  except 
in  so  far  as  they  tend  towards  the  liberation  of  the 
intellect,  the  freedom  of  the  soul.  The  Church 
rules  through  the  people,  not  indeed  through  the 
people's  active  will,  but  by  their  acquiescence  to 
the  demands  of  the  Roman  power.  What  can  set 
the  people  free  ? 

The  obvious  reply  is  "  Religious  Liberty."  But 
that  only  touches  the  surface.  They  hug  the  chains 
that  bind  them,  because  they  believe  that  by 
breaking  them  they  would  be  defying  God,  and 
condemning  themselves  to  an  eternal  hell.  There 
is  no  power  on  earth  so  subtle,  so  difficult  to  destroy, 
as  priestly  tyranny.  The  obedient  Irish  Romanist 
thinks  himself  free  while  all  the  time  he  is  bound 
by  ten  thousand  invisible  chains.  The  man  who 
fears  the  wrath  of  the  Church  is  ten  thousand 
times  more  a  slave  than  he  whose  limbs  are  bound 
with  iron  chains,  lying  in  a  dungeon.  The  "  good 
Catholic  "  is  more  under  the  control  of  the  priest 
than  ever  was  a  South  American  negro  under  the 
will  of  his  owner.  Simon  Legree  could  command 
"Uncle  Tom's"  body.  He  could  do  as  he  liked 
with  it,  but  because  "Uncle  Tom's"  soul  was  free 
he  was  powerless  to  touch  it.  Ireland  has  religious 
liberty  now  as  far  as  Acts  of  Parliament  can  give  it ; 
according  to  the  law  the  Irishman  can,  if  he  will, 

134    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

defy  the  Church,  but  Acts  of  Parliament  cannot  free 
the  soul.  While  that  is  in  bondage  to  priestly 
ideas,  the  priest  rules. 

As  far  as  I  know  the  Protestant  Church  makes 
very  few  converts  in  Ireland.  The  Irish  Roman 
Catholic  is  afraid  to  become  a  Protestant,  afraid 
to  demand  the  right  of  private  judgment  in  religious 
matters,  afraid  to  disobey  his  spiritual  master 
because  of  the  fetters  on  his  soul.  If  one  went  to 
Ireland  and  urged  upon  a  Roman  Catholic  audience 
the  duty  of  thinking  its  own  thoughts  unfettered 
by  Church  or  priest,  he  would  arouse  antagonism, 
he  would  be  regarded  as  an  enemy  to  God.  The 
people  fervently  believe  in  the  authority  and  power 
of  the  priest,  and  the  light  of  knowledge  has  never 
entered  their  uninformed  intellects.  "Anything 
that  is  opposed  to  the  dictum  of  the  Church  is 
opposed  to  the  will  of  God/'  is  an  axiom  of  their  faith. 
They  are  a  religious  people,  and  they  cannot  think 
of  religion  except  through  and  by  the  Church, 
and  thus  they  shut  their  ears  to  everything  that  the 
priest  condemns.  Their  faith  is  the  result  of  many 
generations  of  faith;  it  is  an  ingrained  fact.  The 
priest  speaks  with  the  voice  of  God,  therefore  they 
must  obey.  The  priest  has  supernatural  power, 
the  priest  holds  their  eternal  destiny  in  the  hollow 
of  his  hand,  therefore  his  word  is  law,  while  the  mighty 
Church  at  his  back  is  a  mysterious  and  awesome 
power  which  is  greater  than  kings  or  governments. 


When  the  mind  is  enslaved,  when  the  conscience 
is  controlled,  Acts  of  Parliament  are  powerless. 
Added  to  this,  the  priest  has  obtained  enormous 
power  over  the  mundane  affairs  of  life,  and  has  often 
fought  and  worked  on  the  people's  side. 

It  will  be  seen,  then,  that  the  power  of  Rome 
cannot  be  broken  in  a  day.  The  subtle  power  of 
Rome  must  be  combated  by  a  power  that  works 
slowly  but  surely,  and  will  in  the  end  lead  to  the 
enfranchisement  of  the  mind,  the  liberty  of  the  soul. 

What  is  this  John  the  Baptist  that  shall  prepare 
the  way  of  the  Lord  of  Light  and  Freedom  ?  What 
is  the  iconoclastic  power  that  shall  slowly  but 
surely  break  the  idols  of  the  past,  just  as  surely  as 
Hezekiah  broke  the  brazen  serpent,  and  called  it 
"  a  bit  of  brass  "  ? 

The  power  of  responsibility,  of  self-government. 
There  is  one  thing  Rome  has  never  been  able 
successfully  to  combat,  one  thing  against  which  she 
has  been  powerless — a  responsible,  self-governing 

All  history  is  false  if  this  be  not  true,  and  no  man 
can  study  the  history  of  the  Roman  Catholic  nations 
of  Europe  without  realising  it.  What  has  destroyed 
priestly  power  and  tyranny  in  Italy,  and  France, 
and  Portugal  ?  Education,  self-government,  respon- 
sibility. A  little  more  than  half  a  century  ago  Italy 
was  as  much  a  child  of  the  Roman  Church  as  Ireland 
is  to-day.  Her  people  were  ignorant,  the  country  was 

136    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

split  up  into  warring  sections,  the  Pope  was  not 
only  spiritual  but  temporal  ruler  over  a  large  part 
of  the  country,  and  the  Vatican  lay  at  the  heart 
of  the  nation.  Then  Mazzini,  and  Cavour,  and 
Kossuth,  and  others,  arose  and  sowed  the  seeds 
of  truth  and  liberty.  But  for  these  sowers 
Garibaldi  would  have  been  powerless.  Little  by 
little  the  people  of  Italy  gained  self-government, 
they  became  responsible,  and  from  that  time  the 
shackles  of  the  Church  fell  off.  Of  course,  it  was 
not  done  in  a  day,  but  it  was  done.  To-day,  Italy, 
the  home  of  the  Vatican,  is  perhaps  as  free  from  the 
dictum  of  the  priest  as  any  nation  in  Europe.  In 
France  the  power  which  destroyed  priestly  terrors 
was  the  power  of  responsibility,  and  the  enlightenment 
which  came  through  it.  Of  course,  it  was  realised  in 
a  different  way,  and  the  nation  became  deluged  in 
blood  before  its  emancipation  came,  and  no  one  can 
read  the  history  of  France  during  the  Reign  of 
Terror  without  a  shudder.  But  what  of  the  Reign 
of  Terror  before  the  Revolution  when  the  country 
was  governed  by  the  Aristocracy  and  the  Church  ? 
What  of  that  Reign  of  Terror  when,  because  a  man 
did  not  fall  on  his  knees  at  the  passing  of  a  religious 
procession,  he  was  hanged  and  quartered  after 
suffering  unnameable  outrages  ?  I  know  it  will  be 
urged,  as  it  has  been  urged,  that  throwing  off  the 
authority  of  the  Roman  Church  meant  years  of 
wild  infidelity  and  ghastly  sacrilege.  I  know  that 


Paris  set  up  a  lewd  woman  as  the  Goddess  of  Reason 
at  whose  shrine  it  worshipped,  while  the  people 
danced  wild  dances  as  the  Marseillaise  was  played 
in  the  Paris  churches.  But  against  this  it  must  be 
said  that  here  was  only  the  natural  revolt  against 
spiritual  tyranny  and  the  intellectual  slavery  under 
which  they  had  suffered.  Has  France  less  real  faith 
to-day,  than  it  had  during  the  time  of  the  Louis', 
when  every  decency  of  life  was  outraged,  and  religion 
was  a  cloak  in  which  to  serve  the  devil  ?  Can 
anything  be  worse  than  that  terrible  period  when  all 
rights  of  humanity  were  set  at  naught,  and  the 
common  people  were  treated  worse  than  we  should 
treat  snarling  dogs,  under  the  name  of  religion  ?  And 
now  that  a  century  has  passed  away,  is  not  France 
infinitely  better,  infinitely  more  moral  than  she  was 
when,  with  the  blessing  of  the  Church,  the  high 
places  of  France  were  so  many  brothels  ? 

And  I  have  no  fear  that  light  and  liberty  in 
Ireland  would  result  in  the  same  licentiousness  as 
took  place  in  France ;  not  only  has  a  hundred 
years  passed  away  since  then,  but  Ireland  is  a 
different  country,  and  her  liberty  would  express 
itself  in  a  different  way. 

In  any  case,  I  am  sure  of  this :  responsibility 
has  ever  meant  the  awakening  of  the  mind,  the 
asking  of  questions,  and  these  things  have  ever 
been  the  precursors  of  light  and  advancement. 

In  past  days  I  looked  at  the  question  of  Home 

138    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Rule  for  Ireland  as  a  matter  of  political  justice. 
Prima  facie,  it  seemed  right  that  the  overwhelming 
majority  should  control  the  affairs  of  the  nation. 
Ireland  as  a  nation  is  as  old  as  England,  and  has 
a  history  which,  although  often  sad,  is  not  without 
its  romance  and  its  glory.  It  is  true  it  is  a  conquered 
nation,  but  it  has  never  been  easy  to  govern.  It 
has  ever  been  desirous  of  governing  itself.  We  have 
given  self-government  to  other  parts  of  our  great 
Empire,  why  then  should  not  Ireland  control  its 
own  internal  affairs  ?  Thus,  on  the  face  of  it,  it 
seemed  just  to  grant  Home  Rule.  But  I  was  held 
back  by  one  doubt.  Would  Home  Rule  mean 
Rome  Rule  ?  Would  not  the  Protestants  be  crushed 
by  an  autocratic  ecclesiastical  power  ?  That,  and 
that  alone,  kept  me  from  believing  that  Home 
Rule  should  be  given  to  Ireland.  It  might  be 
politically  just,  but  was  it  right  to  hand  over  the 
nation  to  Rome  ?  What  about  Protestant  Ulster 
as  well  as  the  Protestants  of  the  South  ?  Was 
there  not  a  greater  justice  than  mere  political 
justice  ?  Could  it  be  right  to  place  almost  complete 
power  under  the  control  of  the  Roman  hierarchy 
who  cared  for  nothing  in  comparison  with  the 
aggrandisement  of  the  Roman  Church  ?  Could  it 
be  just  to  place  the  reins  of  a  nation,  Protestant 
and  Catholic  alike,  in  the  hands  of  a  Church  which 
would  seek  only  to  advance  its  own  purposes  ? 
Now,  however,  I  look  upon  the  matter  as  some- 


thing  greater  and  more  important  than  a  question 
of  political  justice,  great  and  important  as  that 
may  be.  The  more  I  have  thought  about  it, 
especially  since  my  return  from  Ireland,  the  more 
I  have  examined  evidences  on  both  sides  of  the 
question,  the  more  do  I  realise  that  the  whole 
matter  goes  deeper.  As  the  Protestants  of  Ulster 
have  repeatedly  said  to  me,  it  is  a  religious  question 
from  top  to  bottom.  Settle  that  and  all  the  rest 
could  be  adjusted.  But  Home  Rule  is  Rome  Rule. 
I  do  not  believe  it.  The  more  I  have  thought,  the 
more  have  I  been  convinced  that  not  only  does  not 
Home  Rule  mean  Roman  Rule,  but  it  means  the 
one  saving  power  from  Rome  Rule.  If  all  the 
experience  of  the  ages  is  not  false,  then  directly  a 
people  has  responsibility  and  political  power,  that 
people  begin  to  work  out  their  own  salvation. 

It  has  been  urged  that,  while  this  may  be  true, 
the  people  of  Ireland  are  not  yet  ready  for  such 
responsibility,  and  that  it  will  be  like  placing  power 
in  the  hands  of  a  savage  race.  A  few  minutes' 
consideration  will,  I  think,  lead  us  to  see  other- 
wise. Ireland  is  not  to-day  the  Ireland  of  fifty 
years  ago,  and  there  are  signs  of  the  times 
which  not  only  shew  that  Ireland  is  rising  out  of 
the  grave  of  its  sloth  and  ignorance,  but  the  events 
of  the  past  twenty  years  are  proving  that  the  little 
responsibility  which  they  already  have  has  worked 
wonders  in  the  life  of  the  people.  Moreover,  there 

140    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

are  already  clouds  in  the  horizon  of  the  Church, 
which  although  not  bigger  than  a  man's  hand,  yet 
shew  that  the  floods  are  surely  coming.  Take  two 
or  three  examples  of  this. 

A  few  years  ago  the  County  Councils  Act  was 
passed.  That  Act  meant  taking  the  power  out  of 
the  hands  of  jurors  who  were  mostly  Protestant 
magistrates,  and  placing  a  certain  amount  of  power 
in  the  hands  of  the  people ;  immediately  politics 
became  a  new  thing  to  the  Irishman.  Local  events 
revealed  themselves  to  him  in  a  new  light.  The 
appointment  of  a  new  master  to  a  workhouse  was 
a  matter  of  importance  to  the  people.  It  was  dis- 
cussed in  the  village  streets,  and  lanes,  and  shops, 
and  meeting  places,  and  this  fact,  although  it  seems 
very  little,  has  been  an  enlightenment  to  the  people 
themselves.  It  has  given  them  a  deeper  interest  in 
the  life  of  the  country  in  which  they  are  living,  and 
that  deeper  interest  has  meant  opening  their  eyes 
to  things  which  they  had  not  thought  of  before. 
In  fact,  the  vote  under  the  County  Councils  Act  has 
meant  to  a  large  extent  that  the  Irishman  has  been 

Another  thing,  we  must  realise  ;  ideas,  new  ideas, 
have  been  slow  percolating  into  the  country.  I 
know  that  education  in  Ireland  is  almost  completely 
under  clerical  control.  I  know,  too,  that  the  most 
ultramontane  things  are  taught  in  those  schools. 
I  know  that  all  the  teachers  must,  from  the  very 


nature  of  the  case,  be  the  creatures  of  the  priests, 
and  that,  as  a  consequence,  the  boys  and  girls,  as 
they  grow  up  to  young  men  and  women,  are  saturated 
with  the  idea  of  the  divinity  of  the  Church  and  the 
sacredness  of  the  priest.  But  in  spite  of  all  this, 
their  education  has  meant  something.  The  facts 
of  history,  even  although  they  may  be  coloured  by 
prejudice,  still  remain  a  working  force  in  life ;  the 
people  have  learned  to  read,  and  the  reading  has 
led  to  an  acquaintance  with  the  newspapers,  and  the 
newspapers,  although  also  largely  under  the  con- 
trol of  the  Church,  have  brought  a  certain  amount  of 
light  into  their  unenlightened  minds.  As  a  con- 
sequence, the  Irishman  is  not  as  ignorant  as  he  was 
half  a  century  ago,  and  the  lessening  of  ignorance  has 
meant  that  he  is  less  dependent  on  the  priest  for 
guidance  and  authority. 

In  addition  to  this,  new  ideas  from  England  and 
from  America  have  been  constantly  finding  their 
way  into  the  country.  Years  ago  the  ports  of  Ireland 
were  filled  with  people  going  away  from  the  old 
country,  but  during  the  last  few  years  a  large 
number  of  those  who  went  away  are  returning 
home,  not  all  of  them  to  stay,  but  still  to  visit  the 
old  homesteads  and  to  talk  with  the  old  companions. 
Intercourse  with  other  countries  has  meant  the  bring- 
ing of  light  into  the  minds  of  the  simple  peasants. 

An  incident  occurred  some  time  ago  which  illus- 
trates what  I  mean.  A  man  came  back  from 

143    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

America  to  his  old  home  ;  naturally,  he  was  regarded 
as  somewhat  of  an  oracle.  His  old  companions 
gathered  around  him  and  listened  to  what  he  had 
to  say  concerning  the  wonders  of  the  new  world. 
He  went  away  a  Roman  Catholic,  he  came  back 
a  Roman  Catholic,  but  the  Roman  Catholic  of 
America  is  utterly  different  from  the  Roman  Catholic 
of  Ireland.  He  said  to  his  old  friends,  "  You  remind 
me  of  Rip  Van  Winkle ;  you  have  been  asleep  for 
this  last  thirty  years  ;  you  have  not  moved  forward 
with  the  times." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  "  asked  his  old  companions. 

"  Why,  just  think,"  was  the  reply.  "  Your 
priest  is  your  master ;  he  is  not  simply  your  guide ; 
you  are  like  little  children,  you  have  to  do  what- 
ever he  tells  you ;  you  are  kept  in  the  dark  about 

"  We  do  not  understand,"  said  the  villagers. 
"  Give  us  examples." 

"  Well,"  he  said,  "  what  do  you  know  about  the 
way  the  money  you  give  is  spent  ?  A  new  school- 
room has  been  built.  How  much  did  it  cost  ? 
You  do  not  know ;  you  gave  your  money,  but  you 
had  not  a  word  to  say  as  to  how  that  money  has 
been  employed.  You  have  no  power,  no  vote  in 
anything  done  in  the  parish  ;  everything  is  done  by 
the  priest,  and  your  duty  is  to  pray,  pay,  and  obey." 

"  But,"  said  the  Irish  people,  "  what  do  you  do 
in  America  ? " 


"  Oh,"  replied  the  other,  "  in  America  things  are 
different .  We  built  a  new  church  in  the  parish  where 
I  was,  but  do  you  think  we  placed  everything  in 
the  hands  of  the  priest  ?  Not  we  !  We  formed  a 
committee,  we  appointed  a  treasurer,  secretary, 
president,  auditor.  We  knew  everything  that  was 
going  on  ;  we  were  consulted  about  everything  that 
was  done,  and  the  priest  was  no  more  than  any  one 
else.  Of  course,  we  are  Catholics  still,  and  we  listen 
to  the  exhortations  of  the  priest  from  the  pulpit 
concerning  spiritual  things ;  but  when  it  comes  to 
other  matters,  we  tell  the  priest  to  mind  his  own 
business,  and  we  will  attend  to  ours." 

Of  course  this  came  upon  the  simple  inhabitants  of 
this  village  in  Sligo  somewhat  as  a  thunderbolt.  The 
idea  that  they  should  dare  to  have  control  over  Church 
affairs  was  something  too  remarkable  for  words. 

"  But  do  you  mean/'  they  said,  "  that  if  the 
priest  holds  to  one  opinion,  and  you  have  another, 
you  dare  to  tell  him  that  he  is  wrong  ?  " 

"  Certainly  we  do,"  was  his  reply.  "  I  tell  you, 
you  are  like  Rip  Van  Winkle,you  have  been  sleeping 
for  these  last  thirty  years  while  other  people  have 
been  awake." 

Of  course,  this  presently  came  to  the  priest's  ears, 
and  naturally  he  was  very  much  annoyed  that  the 
man  from  America  should  come  back  and  utter  such 
disturbing  truths  to  his  congregation,  and  a  little 
later  the  visitor  from  America  had  the  privilege 

144    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

of  hearing  a  sermon  mainly  about  himself.  The 
priest  utterly  denounced  this  man  for  coming  back 
and  disturbing  the  minds  and  faith  of  the  people. 
He  maintained  that  the  priest  should  have  absolute 
authority  on  all  matters  in  relation  to  the  Church 
and  education  in  the  parish,  while  the  people  should 
do  as  they  were  told,  and  then,  looking  towards 
the  visitor  from  America,  he  exclaimed,  "  Sure, 
and  I  would  rather  see  the  devil  come  into  the 
church  than  an  Irish- American  !  " 

Now  this  story  was  told  me  by  one  who  had  it 
from  the  lips  of  this  said  Irish -American,  and  although 
it  may  seem  of  little  importance,  it  is  not  really 
so.  From  that  time  that  little  village  was  not  so 
dead  and  alive  as  it  had  been  before.  The  man's 
visit  meant  the  coming  of  new  ideas,  and  with  new 
ideas  a  new  spirit  among  the  people.  They  are 
asking  questions  one  of  another,  they  are  looking 
at  things  as  they  never  looked  at  them  before, 
and  although  this,  of  course,  is  a  solitary  instance, 
yet  it  is  representative  of  hundreds  more  throughout 
the  country.  Slowly  these  new  ideas — for  they  are 
new  to  them — are  percolating  through  the  Irish  mind, 
and  the  people  are  being  influenced  by  what  is  done 
in  free  and  responsible  countries. 

Then  other  forces  are  at  work  which  go  towards 
liberating  the  mind.  In  past  years  the  priest  has 
demanded  big  fees  at  weddings  and  similar  functions, 
and  the  people  have  paid  without  question,  but  now 


they  are  beginning  to  ask  questions.    While  I  was 
in  Ireland  a  case  was  brought  before  my  notice. 
A   man  who  shewed  me  much  kindness  in  Ireland 
pointed  out  two  shops  to  me.     "  The  one/'  said 
my   companion,  "  is  kept  by  a   Roman   Catholic, 
the  second  by  a  Protestant.    They  were  both  young 
men,  and  they  both  decided  to  get  married.    The 
business  of  the  two  was  about  equal,  and  as  they 
were  both  thrifty  fellows  they  were  equally  well  off. 
When  the  wedding  day  came  the  Roman  Catholic 
found  that  he  had  to  pay  £50  to  the  priest  in  order 
to   get    married.    The   Church    demanded    it,    the 
priest  told  him,  and  it  was  his  duty  to  pay.      The 
Protestant,  on  the  other  hand,  had  only  to  pay 
a   guinea    to    his    minister.     The    marriage   over, 
the  Catholic  naturally  asked   questions.     "  Why/1 
he  says  to  himself,   "  should  I  have  to  pay  £50 
while  the  Protestant  only  paid  a  guinea  ?      Why 
should    the    priest    have    the    power     to    come 
into   my  home  and   demand   from   me  this  large 
sum  of  money  ?  "    Of  course,  he  had  paid  the  £50, 
but  the  fact  rankled  in  his  heart,  and  he  with  others 
is  asking  questions    about  it.     Now    thirty    years 
ago  they  did  not  even  dare  to  ask  the  questions, 
but  to-day  their  whole  attitude  is  changed.     I  do 
not  say  or  suggest  that  they  are  in  revolt  against 
the   priest.     I    expect    no  such  thought  has  ever 
entered  their  minds,  but  they  are  asking  questions, 
and  questions  are  death  to  ecclesiastical  authority. 


146         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

Besides  all  this,  the  people  are  beginning  to  hate 
the  slavery  under  which  they  live.  They  are  seeing, 
just  as  other  countries  have  seen,  that  Protestant 
lands  thrive  and  become  strong,  while  Roman 
Catholic  countries  grow  weaker  and  weaker;  they 
see  that  the  Protestant  is  prosperous,  while  the 
Roman  Catholic  is  in  poverty.  They  ask  why 
this  is  so,  and  they  are  beginning  to  say  that  it  is 
because  they  have  been  impoverished  ;  that  their 
hard  earnings  have  been  taken  from  them  to  build 
huge  and  costly  churches ;  that  while  they  live  in 
mud  hovels,  the  priest  has  his  comfortable  presbytery. 
All  this  and  more  is  disturbing  them,  and  the  fact 
is  dawning  upon  their  minds  that  the  Church  has 
been  like  a  leech  sucking  the  blood  of  the  body 

There  is  another  fact,  too,  which  is  significant. 
For  many  years  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  in 
Ireland  has  been  demanding  a  university  with  a 
Catholic  atmosphere,  urging  as  a  reason  that  the 
better  class  of  Catholic  young  men  of  the  country 
had  no  chance  of  a  university  education.  When 
the  new  University  Bill  was  passed,  they  thought 
that  the  young  men  who  could  afford  a  university 
education  would  flock  to  the  Catholic  colleges  with- 
out question,  and  yet  I  am  given  to  understand 
that  never  was  Trinity  College,  Dublin,  so  full  of 
Roman  Catholic  young  men  as  it  is  at  the  present  time. 
This  year,  so  official  figures  state,  there  is  a  record 


number  of  Roman  Catholic  students  in  the  college 
which  the  hierarchy  condemned  as  a  danger  to  their 
religious  life.  Now,  all  these  things  taken  together 
shew  that  while  the  movement  towards  liberty  may 
not  be  very  strong,  yet  there  is  a  movement. 
Irish  people  are  thinking,  and  their  thoughts  are 
leading  them  to  demand  responsibility,  and  if 
history  means  anything,  it  means  that  Ireland  is 
beginning  to  wake  up  from  its  long  sleep ;  that  the 
call  of  other  lands  has  reached  the  Emerald  Isle 
and  told  them  that  morning  is  coming. 

Now,  then,  what  would  happen  under  Home  Rule  ? 
Suppose  that  this  year  a  Home  Rule  Bill  were 
passed,  and  that  in  the  year  1913  a  Dublin  Parliament 
were  set  up,  and  Ireland  had  control  of  its  own 
affairs  ?  What  would  be  the  result  ?  This  first — 
Rome  would  take  advantage  of  the  new  set  of 
conditions  and  would  seek  to  make  those  new  con- 
ditions work  towards  its  own  advancement.  Let 
there  be  no  doubt  that,  while  I  believe  that  Home 
Rule  would  finally  destroy  Rome  Rule  in  Ireland, 
I  have  no  illusion  about  the  fact  that  the  Roman 
Church  would  try  to  make  Home  Rule  Rome  Rule. 
I  feel  certain  they  would  grasp  at  every  bit  of 
power  possible,  and,  it  may  be,  make  life  hard  for 
the  Protestants.  That  has  been  the  history  of  Rome 
for  many  generations,  and  I  do  not  suppose  it  would 
falsify  its  history  now. 

Do  not  let  us  think  that  the  people  of  Ulster 

148    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

have  had  no  ground  for  their  fears,  or  that  when  they 
utter  their  grim  determination,  "  We  will  not  have 
Home  Rule  !  "  they  have  no  reason  for  it.    Ulster 
has  reason  for  her  grievous  fears,  and  there  is  no 
doubt  whatever  that  if  Home  Rule  were  passed, 
Rome  would  seek  to  make  the  Dublin  Parliament 
the  instrument  for  doing  its  own  work.     In  saying 
this,  I  do  not  urge,  or  even  suggest,  that  individual 
Catholics  would  do  this  if  they  were  left  alone. 
I  am  sure  that  Protestants  and  Catholics  would 
live  on  the  best  of  terms  together.    As  far  as  I  dis- 
covered, there  is  nothing  but  the  kindliest  feelings 
towards  Protestants  by  Catholics.    As  I  have  before 
said,  the  Roman  Catholics  of  Ireland  are  a  kind" 
hearted,  witty,  and  loving  people,  whose  nature  it 
is  not  to  do  cruel  deeds  but  to  do  kind  ones,  whose 
wish  it  is  to  live  on  the  best  of  terms  with  their 
neighbours.     I  doubt  whether  in  all  Europe  can  be 
found   a  people  less  given   to   meditated  revenge 
than  the  Irish  people,  and  if  they  were  left  alone 
nothing    but    the    kindest    feelings    would    obtain 
between  Irish  Roman  Catholics  and  their  Protestant 
neighbours.     But  individual  Roman  Catholics  must 
be  distinguished  from  the  Roman  hierarchy.    The 
Roman  Church  as  a  Church  hates  Protestantism, 
and  because  it  hates  Protestantism  it  is  envious  of 
the  prosperity  of  Protestants.    As  a  consequence, 
I  am  sure  that  it  would  seek  to  enforce  marriage 
laws,  which  would  bear  grievously  upon  Protestant 


hearts  and  consciences.  I  am  sure  that  it  would  hold 
the  reins  of  power  with  a  tight  hand.  I  am  sure 
that  it  would  try  and  get  back  all  the  old  ecclesiastical 
buildings.  I  am  sure  that  it  would  leave  no  stone 
unturned  to  make  the  whole  of  Ireland  a  Roman 
Catholic  country  ruled  from  Rome  and  by  Rome. 

But  having  said  all  that,  I  still  maintain  that 
Home  Rule  would  be  the  first  step  towards  a  destruc- 
tion of  Rome  Rule,  because  it  would  mean  the 
beginning  of  a  new  era,  an  era  of  liberty,  of  enlighten- 
ment, and  responsibility  among  the  Irish  people. 
Hitherto,  politics  has  been  something  a  long  way 
off.  The  Catholic  peasant  has  had  no  real  interest 
in  English  politics,  and  hitherto  the  thought  upper- 
most in  his  mind  in  sending  the  members  to  Parlia- 
ment (when  there  has  happened  to  be  an  election 
in  the  constituency  in  which  he  resides)  is  that  he 
is  sending  men  to  demand  Home  Rule,  to  demand 
self-government.  It  has  scarcely  entered  into  his  mind 
to  consider  what  a  Dublin  Parliament  would  do. 
Home  Rule  is  a  national  sentiment ;  the  practical 
application  of  that  national  sentiment  is  a  different 
thing,  but  if  Home  Rule  were  passed,  then  politics 
would  become  vital.  These  people  would  take  a 
deep  interest  in  what  the  Dublin  Parliament  was 
doing  ;  the  Land  Question,  Education,  Government 
of  the  Church,  Church  Property,  Taxation,  would  be 
brought  infinitely  nearer  to  him.  He  for  the  first 
time  in  his  generation  would  take  a  direct  part  in 

150    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

the  government  of  his  own  country ;  he  would 
become  a  force  in  the  Ireland  which  he  so  much 
loves.  Then  something  else  would  follow,  as  surely 
as  the  night  follows  the  day. 

There  are  in  Ireland,  as  elsewhere,  Keir  Hardies 
and  Ramsay  Macdonalds,  men  with  democratic 
sentiments — with  socialistic  ideas  too,  perhaps, 
although  Socialism  is  not  yet  a  great  power  in 
Ireland — these  men  will  tell  him  what  working- 
men  have  done  in  other  countries,  and  how,  in  face 
of  opposition,  they  have  obtained  many  of  the 
blessings  which  are  now  unknown  to  them.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  Church  of  Rome  has  never  been 
democratic ;  it  has  always  been  conservative,  always 
craving  for  authority,  and  holding  it  fast  with  an 
iron  hand.  That  Church  would  have  its  advocates 
in  the  country,  opposing  and  fighting  to  the  death 
anything  like  new  ideas.  Hitherto,  in  the  main, 
when  the  Irishman  has  had  to  take  sides,  he  has  had  to 
decide  between  Protestants  and  Roman  Catholics  ;  as 
a  natural  consequence  he  has  placed  himself  on  the 
side  of  the  faith  of  his  fathers,  and  on  the  side  of 
the  men  who  enforce  that  faith.  In  the  future,  the 
opposing  parties  will  be  of  the  same  faith,  and  he 
will  be  called  upon  to  make  his  choice  between  the 
two.  Of  course,  his  priest  will  demand  that  he 
shall  vote  and  use  his  influence  on  the  side  which  he, 
the  priest,  represents ;  but  again  the  Irishman  will 
begin  to  ask  questions.  He  will  see  that  the  Church 


will  curse  those  democratic  principles  which  have 
appealed  to  him  as  not  only  just  but  essential  to 
the  progress  of  the  people.  Thus  before  ten  years 
are  over,  there  will  certainly  be  an  anti-Clerical  party 
in  Ireland.  That  anti-Clerical  party  will  probably  be 
Roman  Catholic,  but  it  will  be  opposed  to  Clericalism. 
The  Irish  peasant  will  see  that  the  Irish  Church 
opposes  him  and  opposes  the  interest  of  the  common 
people.  Both  parties  will  have  their  newspapers, 
discussions  will  take  place  in  the  village  street  and 
village  lane ;  doubtless  strong  words  will  be 
uttered ;  but  what  is  more  to  the  point,  a  new 
spirit  will  be  realised,  a  disintegrating  force  will  be 
at  work  in  the  life  of  the  people,  destroying  old 
superstitions,  opening  their  minds  to  new  ideas,  and 
bringing  in  the  era  of  a  larger  life. 

This  may  not  come  in  a  day,  but  it  must  surely 
come,  and  the  advent  of  that  new  spirit  will 
presage  the  fall  of  Rome.  There  will  be  no  armed 
battalions,  and  no  civil  war,  but  a  revolution 
will  surely  take  place,  and  although  that  revolution 
may  be  bloodless,  it  will  surely  create  a  new  Ireland. 
Old  things  will  have  passed  away,  and  all  things 
will  have  become  new. 

In  the  Belfast  News  Letter  for  January  22nd, 
1912,  I  find  the  following  significant  passage  from 
one  who  is  evidently  a  strong  Unionist,  and  who 
writes  strongly  from  the  Unionist  standpoint.  He 
says :  "I  would  go  further  and  say  that  just 

152    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

in  proportion  as  the  Church  of  Rome  tightens 
her  grip  on  the  people,  in  like  manner  is  she  nearing 
the  time  when  the  people  will  cast  off  her  restraint 
as  they  have  done  in  France  and  Portugal ! " 
Exactly,  but  what  will  help  them  to  cast  off  that 
restraint  ?  What  will  help  the  Irishman,  whose 
mind  has  been  enslaved  for  so  many  years,  to  break 
his  shackles  ?  The  merest  tyro  in  history  will 
know  that  there  is  no  awakening  power  greater  than 
that  which  comes  through  a  sense  of  responsibility. 
Possibly,  nay  probably,  there  will  be  a  great  rebound 
from  the  Church  which  has  so  long  held  the  people 
in  chains.  This  seems  almost  inevitable;  it  was  so 
in  France,  it  was  so  in  Italy,  it  was  so  also  in 
Portugal,  and  even  in  Spain.  If  all  one  hears  and 
reads  is  not  a  lie,  the  people  are  throwing  off  the 
yoke  of  their  bondage,  and  standing  erect  in  their 
new-found  intellectual  liberty.  This  I  say  is  natural, 
it  can  scarcely  be  otherwise,  and  it  may  be  that  a 
period  of  revolt  against  organised  creeds  may  be  one 
of  the  means  by  which  Ireland  will  work  out  its 
salvation.  But,  "  we  can  do  nothing  against  the 
truth  but  for  the  truth,"  said  St.  Paul.  Personally, 
I  have  no  fear  that  faith  will  die,  because  truth 
cannot  be  destroyed,  and  truth  must  in  the  long 
run  prevail.  Thus,  although  in  her  new-found 
freedom  Ireland  may  do  things  which  may  disturb 
the  minds  of  many,  she  will  at  length  find  a  way 
to  green  pastures  and  still  waters. 


This  may  seem  to  some  an  optimistic  dream, 
and  yet  if  the  reader  will  consider  carefully,  he  will 
see  that  it  is  something  more  than  optimism — it  is 
a  conclusion  founded  upon  fact.  Consider  the 
state  Ireland  is  in  at  present.  To  quote  Mr.  George 
Bernard  Shaw's  preface  to  "  John  Bull's  Other 
Island  "  again :  "  Realise  then,"  he  says,  "  that  the 
popular  party  in  Ireland  is  seething  with  rebellion 
against  the  tyranny  of  the  Church.  Imagine  the 
feelings  of  an  English  farmer  if  the  parson  refused 
to  marry  him  for  less  than  £20,  and  if  he  had 
virtually  no  other  way  of  getting  married  !  Imagine 
the  Church  Rates  revived  in  the  form  of  an  unofficial 
Income  Tax  scientifically  adjusted  to  your  taxable 
capacity  by  an  intimate  knowledge  of  your  affairs 
verified  in  the  Confessional !  Imagine  being  one  of 
a  peasantry  reputed  the  poorest  in  the  world,  under 
the  thumb  of  a  priesthood  reputed  the  richest 
in  the  world !  Imagine  a  Catholic  middle  class 
continually  defeated  in  the  struggle  of  professional, 
official,  and  fashionable  life  by  the  superior  educa- 
tion of  its  Protestant  competitors,  and  yet  forbidden 
by  its  priests  to  resort  to  the  only  efficient  univer- 
sities in  the  country !  Imagine  trying  to  get  a 
modern  education  in  a  seminary  of  priests,  where  a 
modern  book  worth  reading  is  on  the  Index,  and  the 
earth  is  still  regarded,  not  perhaps  as  absolutely 
flat,  yet  as  being  far  from  so  spherical  as  Protestants 
allege  1  Imagine  being  forbidden  to  read  this  preface 

154    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

because  it  proclaims  your  own  grievances !  And 
imagine  being  bound  to  submit  to  all  this  because 
the  popular  side  must  hold  together  at  all  costs  in 
the  face  of  the  Protestant  enemy  !  That  is,  roughly, 
the  predicament  of  Roman  Catholic  Ireland." 

But  go  further  and  imagine  the  people  free, 
realising  for  the  first  time  power  and  responsibility, 
and  seeing  new  avenues  of  prosperity  before  them 
with  the  light  of  a  new  day  dawning  upon  their  lives. 
Can  we  not  see  a  new  Ireland  ?  They  have  all 
their  old  characteristics  of  quick  intelligence,  a 
bright  wit,  a  keen  sense  of  humour  and  a  vivacious 
nature  scarcely  known  to  us  Saxons.  Can  we  not 
see  Ireland  rising  like  Samson  of  old  to  shake 
herself  free  from  the  ropes  which  bound  her.  Can 
we  not  see  her  laughing  at  the  old  superstitions  and 
defying  those  who  had  put  chains  upon  her  mind  ? 
And  can  we  not  also  see  her  moving  towards  the 
true  and  only  Light  which  has  been  hidden  by  the 
dark  clouds  of  mediaevalism  in  which  she  has  so 
long  lived  ? 



I  HAVE  been  so  uncertain  of  this,  that  for  several 
years  I  have  never  been  able  to  make  up  my 
mind  about  Home  Rule.  It  has  been  urged  upon 
me  repeatedly  by  those  opposing  self-govern- 
ment for  Ireland,  that  to  give  Home  Rule  to  that 
country  would  mean  the  persecution  of  Protestants. 
It  was  stated  that  Roman  Catholic  hatred  and 
bitterness  were  only  held  in  check  by  the  fact  that 
the  country  was  governed  from  England.  "  Once 
give  Home  Rule  to  Ireland,"  it  was  said,  "  once  let 
there  be  a  Parliament  in  Dublin,  which  must  be 
subservient  to  the  Roman  Church,  and  Protestants 
will  never  be  able  to  live."  I  received  letter  after 
letter  from  Ireland  stating  that  if  Home  Rule 
were  granted,  Protestants  would  have  to  sacrifice 
their  homes,  their  businesses,  and  to  go  to  some 
land  of  freedom.  It  was  repeatedly  urged  that 
the  priests  had  such  power  over  the  people,  and  that 
their  hatred  of  Protestants  was  such,  that  neither 
property  nor  life  would  be  sacred.  In  the  letter  to 


156    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

which  I  referred  in  the  opening  chapter,  I  said 
that  if  Home  Rule  meant  Rome  Rule,  if  Protestants 
would  be  persecuted,  and  that  if  the  English  Noncon- 
formists could  be  convinced  of  this  fact,  Home  Rule 
would  be  as  dead  as  Queen  Anne.  That  under  no  cir- 
cumstance should  Home  Rule  be  allowed  in  Ireland, 
if  a  quarter  of  the  population  had  to  be  crushed  as 
a  consequence.  On  the  other  hand,  if  it  could  be 
proved  that  Irish  Protestants  would  have  just  treat- 
ment by  the  Roman  section,  then  the  case  against 
Home  Rule,  as  far  as  English  Protestants  were 
concerned,  would  largely  break  down.  But  that  was 
the  question  on  which  I  desired  light,  and  con- 
cerning which  the  British  public  needed  information. 
Personally,  I  would  be  the  last  to  advocate 
Home  Rule  :  rather,  I  would  fight  against  it  to  the 
very  death,  if  it  meant  anything  like  crushing 
my  fellow  Protestants.  Consequently,  I  was  very 
anxious  about  this,  and  indeed  it  was  largely  in  order 
to  find  out  the  truth  concerning  it,  that  I  went  to 

-  If  granting  what  three-fourths  of  the  nation  desire, 
meant  the  persecution  of  those  remaining,  if  placing 
power  in  the  hands  of  a  Dublin  Government,  meant 
destroying  the  industries,  breaking  up  the  homes, 
and  ruining  the  lives  of  the  most  prosperous  and 
the  most  loyal  people  in  the  Empire;  then  Home 
Rule  would  be  something,  not  only  to  which  we 
must  object,  but  against  which  we  must  fight  to  the 


bitter  end.  I  therefore  made  the  most  careful 
inquiries  in  Ulster,  in  Leinster,  and  in  Munster. 
Before  going  I  made  a  list  of  questions  which  I  thought 
covered  the  whole  ground,  the  answers  to  which 
must  lead  to  a  correct  understanding  of  the  facts. 
In  answering  the  question  whether  Home  Rule 
would  mean  the  persecution  of  Protestants  by 
Roman  Catholics,  I  wish  the  reader  carefully  to 
consider  the  facts  which  I  shall  now  set  down.  Mr. 
Redmond,  in  an  article  on  this  question,  repudiated 
the  idea.  He  said  that  the  Irish  as  a  race  were 
never  guilty  of  religious  persecution,  and  he 
challenged  any  one  to  prove  that  there  had  ever 
been  any  persecution  of  Protestants  because  they 
were  Protestants  by  the  people  of  Ireland. 

I  would  like  to  bear  my  testimony  to  the  truth 
of  that  statement.  Of  course,  there  have  been  times 
when  mad  passions  have  been  aroused,  when  dark 
and  bloody  deeds  have  been  committed.  No  doubt, 
back  in  the  times  of  James  II.  deeds  too  awful  to 
mention  were  done,  and  it  cannot  be  denied  that 
in  after  years  revenge  and  religious  hatred  made 
Ireland  a  hell.  The  Irish  are  undoubtedly  a  wild 
and,  under  some  circumstances,  an  almost  un- 
governable people  ;  and  in  those  years  of  strife  and 
bitterness  things  were  done  which  can  only  be 
thought  of  with  a  shudder.  But  this  is  true,  not 
only  of  Roman  Catholics  but  of  Protestants.  There 
has  been  bitterness  on  both  sides ;  deeds  of  revenge 


committed  by  both  Romanists  and  Protestants. 
But  that  does  not  disprove  Mr.  Redmond's  state- 
ments. Ireland  is  not  a  persecuting  nation.  The 
Irish  are  not  a  persecuting  people.  I  do  not  think 
that  any  one  who  travels  from  north  to  south  or 
from  east  to  west,  and  tries  to  understand  the  life 
of  this  sunny-hearted,  witty  people,  would  assert 
that  they  are.  During  the  visits  I  have  made  to 
that  country,  I  have  tried,  as  well  as  a  stranger 
could,  to  estimate  their  true  character,  and  I  have 
been  led  to  the  conclusion  that  with  all  their  faults 
and  their  failings  they  are  not  guilty  of  this.  They 
may  be  lazy,  they  may  be  thriftless,  they  may  be 
superstitious,  but  at  heart  they  are  kind  and  loving, 
and  although  they  would  at  the  bidding  of  their 
priests  do  things  against  which  they  would  naturally 
revolt,  yet  the  priests  themselves  would  never  dare 
to  urge  anything  like  a  persecution  of  individual 
Protestants,  except  when  the  anger  and  rage  of  the 
people  were  roused  by  some  great  national  strife. 
Doubtless,  the  Irish  Roman  Catholic  is  more  true 
to  his  faith  than  the  Romanist  of  any  other  country  ; 
doubtless,  too,  he  is  completely  dominated  by 
clerical  authority.  But  the  Irish  priest,  although  he 
may  be  bigoted  and  ignorant,  is  not  by  nature  cruel. 
He,  too,  is  an  Irishman,  and  by  nature  full  of  the 
milk  of  human  kindness.  I  believe  that  while  he 
would  strive  with  his  Church  for  complete  authority 
and  complete  power  in  the  government  of  the 


country,  he  would  never  be  guilty  of  the  persecution 
of  Protestants  as  a  class.  I  think,  too,  that  I  shall 
be  able  to  prove  that  what  I  have  said  is  not  the 
outcome  of  my  own  imagination,  but  is  true  to  the 
facts  as  they  are  written  large  over  the  face  of 
Ireland  to-day. 

The  Protestants  of  Ulster,  in  talking  about  this, 
have  repeatedly  assured  me  that  they  would  not 
have  so  much  fear  for  themselves,  because  they  are 
in  the  majority,  but  they  do  fear  for  those  parts  of 
the  country  where  Protestants  are  in  the  minority. 
"  In  the  south,  down  in  Galway,  and  Kerry,  and 
Clare,  where  the  Protestants  are  few  in  number," 
they  have  urged,  "  what  chance  would  they  have 
against  the  majority  of  Catholics  ?  "  It  is  a  remark- 
able fact  that  the  hatred  of  Home  Rule  is  not 
nearly  so  strong  in  the  South  of  Ireland  where  the 
Protestants  are  in  the  minority,  as  it  is  in  the  North, 
where  they  are  in  the  majority.  In  Waterford,  for 
example,  Mr.  John  Redmond's  constituency,  the 
Protestants  there  are  far  less  numerous  than  they  are 
in  Belfast,  but  they  are  far  less  violent  in  their 
opposition.  It  is  true  that  in  the  main  they  do  not 
desire  Home  Rule,  but  they  utter  no  very  strong 
opinions  about  it.  This  seems  to  me  a  significant 
fact,  but  what  is  more  significant  is  that,  although 
they  live  in  a  part  of  the  country  where  Roman 
Catholics  are  at  least  ten  to  one,  and  where,  there- 
fore, from  the  point  of  numbers,  they  predominate 

160    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

completely,  Protestants  are  far  more  prosperous  than 
Roman  Catholics.  Indeed,  it  is  one  of  the  most 
striking  things  that  I  know  of.  If  ever  you  see  a 
prosperous  shop,  a  big  manufactory  of  any  sort, 
unless  it  be  a  place  for  the  manufacturing  of  alcohol, 
you  may  be  sure  it  is  owned  by  a  Protestant.  If 
you  see  a  big  house  you  may  be  sure  it  belongs  to 
a  Protestant.  In  fact,  I  was  told  repeatedly  that, 
although  the  Protestants  formed  scarcely  a  tithe 
of  the  population,  the  main  bulk  of  the  prosperous 
business  of  the  town  belongs  to  the  minority.  Yet 
their  customers  are  in  the  main  Roman  Catholics. 
Protestants  live  by  the  good  will  of  those  belonging 
to  the  Roman  Church,  and  if  they  were  boycotted, 
their  business  would  be  ruined  in  a  week.  But  it  is 
not  so. 

A  respected  Quaker  of  that  town  told  me  he  had 
done  business  there  for  thirty-five  years.  He  is  a 
Unionist,  and  is  desirous  of  maintaining  the  existing 
state  of  things  ;  yet  he  admitted  that,  although 
at  least  nine-tenths  of  the  people  who  come  to  his 
place  of  business  are  Roman  Catholics,  never  during 
the  thirty-five  years  had  he  ever  once  suffered  any 
indignity  or  incivility  at  the  hands  of  his  Romanist 
neighbours.  He  had  begun  life  there  as  a  poor 
man,  and  he  has  grown  to  be  rich,  and  he  owes  it  to 
the  good  will  of  the  people  who  were  entirely  opposed 
to  him  in  matters  of  faith.  Another  man  assured 
me  that  even  in  the  two  or  three  cases  where  large 


shops  were  owned  by  Roman  Catholics,  practically 
all  the  heads  of  departments  and  managers  were 
Protestants.  Now,  if  there  were  anything  like 
religious  persecution,  would  it  be  possible  that  such 
testimonies  could  be  given  ?  How  could  a  man  do 
business  in  an  almost  completely  Roman  Catholic 
town,  and  succeed,  as  the  Protestants  of  the  South 
of  Ireland  have  succeeded,  if  the  fears  of  the  North 
had  any  real  foundation  ? 

In  talking  over  this  matter  one  day  to  an  Irishman 
(who  is  a  fairly  large  landowner  and  a  Unionist), 
he  told  me  that  instead  of  it  being  a  disadvantage  to 
be  a  Protestant,  as  far  as  success  was  concerned,  in  the 
South  of  Ireland,  it  was  quite  the  opposite.  "  You 
see,"  he  said,  "  these  people  regard  the  Protestants 
as  their  superiors,  for  where  Romanists  have  failed 
Protestants  have  succeeded.  As  a  consequence  the 
ignorant  peasant  looks  upon  them  with  respect. 
To  the  Irishman  prosperity  is  something  to  be 
admired,  and  therefore  he  looks  with  extreme 
admiration  upon  the  man  who  has  succeeded  where 
he  himself  has  failed.  But  not  only  this,  the 
Protestant  is  held  to  be  a  man  of  moral  integrity. 
After  all,  it  is  character  that  tells,  and  the  Protestants 
of  Ireland  are  regarded  as  more  sober,  more  indus- 
trious, more  trustworthy,  and  better  educated  than 
the  Roman  Catholics.  Thus  it  comes  about  that  as 
the  Roman  Catholics  watch  the  lives  of  their  neigh- 
bours, as  they  see  their  general  integrity,  their  devotion 


i62         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

to  business,  their  sobriety,  and  their  faithfulness  to 
their  promises,  they  look  upon  them  with  so  much 
respect,  that  it  has  become  not  a  disadvantage  but 
an  advantage  to  be  a  Protestant.  Of  course,  the 
priest  could  tell  his  people  to  avoid  the  Protestant 
shop  and  go  to  their  own  Catholic  shop,  but  in  the 
main  he  does  not.  If  persecution  takes  place,  or 
if  boycotting  takes  place,  it  is  not  from  religious 
reasons,  but  from  something  far  other.*' 

Again  and  again,  even  the  Protestants  of  Ulster 
have  told  me  that  they  have  no  fear  whatever  of  the 
Irish  people  if  they  are  left  to  themselves,  because 
the  Irish  people  are  kind  and  charitable  ;  their  only 
fear  is  of  the  Church  as  a  hierarchy. 

Let  me  give  another  illustration  of  what  I  mean. 
Some  years  ago  a  Roman  Catholic  priest  in  Ireland 
was  led  to  give  up  his  faith.  The  circumstances  were 
made  public  at  the  time,  and  discussed  not  only  in 
the  Irish  but  in  the  English  press.  I  had  an  inter- 
view with  this  gentleman  while  in  Ireland,  and  he  told 
me  his  story.  He  said  that  for  years  he  had  been  living 
a  double  life.  His  intelligence  told  him  that  the 
Roman  Catholic  Church  and  doctrines  were  built 
on  false  foundations,  but  the  blood  of  many  genera- 
tions of  Romanists  was  in  his  veins ;  the  fear  of 
the  Church  fought  with  his  intelligence.  Thus  for 
years  he  acted  as  a  priest  of  that  Church,  even  while 
he  had  no  faith  in  its  doctrines.  He  was  enslaved 
by  long  associations,  and  by  the  ingrained  terror  of 


being  faithless  to  what  he  had  been  led  to  think  of 
as  the  one  true  Church  of  God.  He  knew  too  that  if 
he  left  that  Church  openly  he  would  be  covered  by 
ignominy  and  abuse,  for  to  a  devoted  Catholic 
there  can  be  few  things  worse  than  a  renegade  priest. 
He,  therefore,  planned  his  escape.  He  obtained  a 
suit  of  layman's  clothes,  and  then,  taking  a  boat, 
rowed  out  into  the  Shannon  as  if  for  a  bathe. 
Presently  the  boat  was  discovered  without  an 
occupant,  while  the  priest's  clerical  garb  was  found 
in  the  boat.  It  was  therefore  given  out  that  this 
priest  while  bathing  had  been  drowned.  His  saintly 
character  was  also  enlarged  upon  from  pulpit 
and  from  altar,  and  he  was  spoken  of  as  a  godly 
priest  of  the  Roman  Church  who  had  gone  to  his 
reward.  Presently,  however,  this  man  returned. 
He  had  changed  his  faith,  he  had  found  the  truth, 
as  he  believed,  in  a  faith  which  his  old  Church 
condemned;  but  that  Church  could  say  nothing 
against  him.  It  could  not  contradict  its  public 
statements  made  a  few  months  before  ;  nevertheless, 
naturally  the  bitterest  of  feelings  were  aroused. 
How  could  it  be  otherwise  ?  As  I  said,  nothing  is 
worse,  except  it  be  the  case  of  a  nun  who  gets 
married,  than  for  a  priest  to  cease  being  a  priest. 
That  man  eventually  became  a  Protestant  minister, 
he  has  a  mission  in  Dublin,  he  has  travelled  all  over 
Ireland  conducting  missions,  and  yet  he  is  in  Dublin 
to-day  safe  and  unmolested.  Of  course,  there  have 

164    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

been  times  when  feelings  have  been  aroused  against 
him,  and  when  he  has  had  to  have  police  protection, 
but  these  times  have  been  rare,  and  the  very  fact 
that  a  man  well  known  as  a  priest,  and  now  well 
known  as  a  Protestant  minister,  can  go  into  the  most 
extreme  Catholic  towns  in  the  South  of  Ireland 
and  conduct  his  missions,  Protestant  missions,  un- 
molested, without  persecution,  and  without  bodily 
harm,  goes  a  long  way  to  prove  that  there  is  very 
little  religious  persecution  in  that  country. 

Another  thing  that  goes  to  prove  this  ;  my  inform- 
ant, who  also  was  a  most  respected  Quaker  of  the 
South  of  Ireland,  told  me  that  during  over  thirty 
years  he  had  lived  in  a  Roman  Catholic  town,  he 
had  only  on  one  occasion  known  anything  like  a 
disturbance  at  Protestant  services,  and  that  was 
when  the  Salvation  Army  first  came.  The  coming 
of  the  army,  of  course,  created  a  great  deal  of 
interest,  and  many  Roman  Catholics  were  led  to 
come  to  the  services,  and  for  a  time  there  was 
strong  feeling  against  its  adherents ;  but  presently 
things  settled  down  to  their  natural  course,  and  the 
Salvation  Army  now  conducts  its  meetings  without 
fear  of  harm  or  molestation  as  freely  as  it  does  in 

On  this  point  I  can  quite  understand  that  some 
will  object  and  say,  "  What  about  the  cases  of  boy- 
cotting and  persecution  which  no  doubt  have  been 
common  in  Ireland  during  the  last  few  years,  and 


how  can  you  say  there  is  no  religious  persecu- 
tion in  the  face  of  the  incidents  which  are  public 
property  ?  " 

I  know  that  a  section  of  the  press  teems  with  such 
incidents,  and  on  the  surface  they  are  hard  to 
reconcile  with  much  that  I  have  said.  The 
examination  of  those  incidents,,  however,  goes  to 
prove  not  that  there  was  persecution  or  boycotting 
on  account  of  religion,  but  because  of  agrarian  or 
political  reasons.  Sometimes  Protestants  have  been 
persecuted,  sometimes  Roman  Catholics  have  been 
persecuted,  in  connection  with  some  agrarian  or 
political  trouble,  when  party  feeling  has  run  high, 
but  this  has  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  my  main 
contention  that  Protestants  as  Protestants  have  not 
been  persecuted  for  many  years,  neither  are  they  likely 
to  be  under  any  change  of  Government.  If  it  were 
in  the  nature  of  the  people  to  persecute,  or  if  the 
priests  desired  to  persecute  for  religious  reasons, 
they  would  have  had  plenty  of  opportunities, 
especially  in  those  parts  of  the  country  where 
Roman  Catholics  are  in  a  large  majority.  On  the 
whole,  then,  I  think  we  can  dismiss  this  fear  from 
our  minds.  It  does  not  bear  the  light  of  day. 

In  this  connection  I  may  say  that  I  interviewed 
at  least  a  dozen  people  in  the  South  of  Ireland  both 
Protestant  and  Romanist,  and  without  exception 
they  laughed  at  the  idea  of  persecution.  "  Surely," 
was  their  reply,  "  the  fact  that  Protestants  are  the 

166        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

most  prosperous  people  in  Ireland,  whether  in  the 
North  or  in  the  South,  that  they  own  nearly  all  the 
prosperous  businesses,  that  they  live  in  nearly 
all  the  big  houses,  and  that  they  hold  most  of  the 
permanent  positions  in  the  country,  is  sufficient 
proof  that  no  such  thing  as  persecution  exists." 

If  further  proofs  were  needed,  the  following  facts 
are  certainly  significant.  I  take  them  from  the 
Parliamentary  reports,  and  they  say  that  there 
are  807  Episcopalian  Justices  of  the  Peace  in  Ireland. 
But  there  are  only  251  Catholic  Justices,  157  Presby- 
terians, 38  Methodists,  and  19  "  various/'  As  to  the 
Lord  Lieutenants  and  Deputy  Lieutenants  of  Coun- 
ties, at  least  eight  out  of  every  ten  are  Episcopalians. 
The  Irish  Privy  Council  consists  of  43  Episcopalians, 
10  Catholics,  9  Presbyterians,  and  10  others.  The 
Stipendiary  Magistrates  include  41  Episcopalians, 
19  Catholics,  and  6  Presbyterians.  The  Judges  of 
the  High  Court  number  7  Episcopalians,  4  Catholics, 
and  2  Presbyterians  ;  whilst  the  Land  and  Estates 
Commissioners  consist  of  3  Episcopalians,  2  Catholics, 
and  i  Presbyterian.  The  County  Inspectors  of 
Police  are  37  in  number,  of  whom  only  4  are  Catholics, 
and  nearly  all  the  others  are  Episcopalians.  It  may 
be  added  that  when  the  Conservatives  went  out  of 
office  in  1905,  the  Assistant  Land  Commissioners, 
Inspectors,  and  Assistant  Inspectors,  were  con- 
stituted of  39  Episcopalians,  16  Catholics,  and  12 
Presbyterians,  whilst  the  Recorders  and  County 


Court  Judges  included  10  Episcopalians,  8  Catholics, 
and  2  Presbyterians.  The  Liberal  Government  has 
since  reduced  the  disproportion  under  the  last  two 
heads.  Lastly,  there  are  174  Irish  Peers,  of  whom 
only  14  are  Catholics,  and  at  least  150  are 

This  goes  to  prove  that  the  fears  I  had  before  I 
went  to  Ireland  were  groundless.  On  every  hand, 
except  in  point  of  numbers,  the  Protestants'  position 
is  supreme.  The  Protestants  are  in  the  main  masters, 
and  the  Roman  Catholics  the  servants ;  the  Protes- 
tants the  employers  and  the  Roman  Catholics  the 
employees.  The  Protestants  are  in  a  position  of 
authority,  while  the  Roman  Catholics  are  in  the 
main  in  positions  of  subservience. 

Is  it  likely,  then,  that  if  Home  Rule  be  given 
and  the  Roman  Catholics  realise  the  dream  of  their 
life,  that  they  will  be  likely  to  persecute  for  conscience* 
sake  ?  They  have  not  done  so  when  their  hopes 
were  unfulfilled,  and  the  sky  of  their  life  black, 
how  much  less  would  they  do  so  then,  when  the 
dreams  of  many  generations  became  a  reality  ? 

It  is  freely  admitted  that  the  Protestant  popula- 
tion in  Ireland  is  the  most  enlightened,  the  most 
prosperous,  the  most  virile  ;  as  a  consequence  they 
have  obtained  most  of  the  positions  of  authority 
and  wealth.  Cannot  the  people  having  these 
qualifications  take  care  of  themselves  ?  Even  if 
Roman  Catholics  shewed  a  desire  to  persecute,  and 

i68         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

there  are  no  signs  that  such  would  be  the  case, 
is  it  -likely  that  the  people  who  have  the  brains, 
the  culture,  the  wealth,  and  the  commanding 
positions  in  the  nation  would  be  powerless  to  defend 
themselves  ?  Such  a  state  of  things  is  unthinkable. 

CHAPTER  X.    . 


IN  writing  the  concluding  chapter  of  this  little  book, 
I  cannot,  perhaps,  do  better  than  to  consider  briefly 
the  two  policies  before  us. 

The  first  is  the  policy  of  Ulster,  of  those  who 
would  reject  any  thought  of  self-government 
for  Ireland.  What  strikes  any  one  who  gives  it  a 
moment's  thought  is  that  it  is  purely  negative. 
The  cry  of  at  least  two-thirds  of  the  nation  is  to  be 
disregarded,  the  hopes  of  long  years  is  to  come  to 
nothing.  All  the  dreams  that  have  been  dreamt 
will  be  idle  and  the  national  sentiment  trodden  under 
foot.  It  is  well  to  meet  this  matter  fairly.  The 
minority  of  Ireland  will  have  their  way,  while  the 
majority  will  be  denied  that  for  which  they  have 
been  longing. 

What  will  be  the  practical  results  of  this  ?  I  am 
asking  the  question  in  no  party  spirit,  for  in  this 
study  I  have  banished  all  thoughts  of  party  from 
my  mind. 

The  first  result  will  be  that  Ulster  will  remain 

170         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

satisfied,  and  that  her  prosperity  will  remain  un- 
impaired. This  must,  of  course,  be  admitted 
without  question.  Whether  it  will  be  best  for 
Ulster  eventually  must  be  considered  later,  but  for 
the  present  that  province,  which  has  been  noted 
for  its  growing  population,  its  increasing  prosperity, 
and  general  well-being,  will  remain  the  one  bright 
spot  on  a  "  distressful  country."  Ulster's  people 
will  still  live  in  their  comfortable  homes,  and  the 
forces  which  have  gone  to  making  the  province, 
in  the  main,  contented  and  prosperous,  will  remain. 
Its  Lord  Mayor  will  probably  still  be  able  to  boast 
of  the  small  pauper  rate,  the  diminutive  police 
rate,  and  probably  of  a  growing  commerce.  The 
Presbyterian  and  other  schools  will  remain  under 
the  same  control,  the  churches  will  probably  continue 
to  be  well  attended,  and  the  ministers  will  be  able  to 
do  their  great  work  unhindered  by  new  and  disturb- 
ing influences.  Probably,  too,  a  number  of  Roman 
Catholics  from  the  South  will  move  to  this  prosperous 
corner  of  the  Island,  and  catch  something  of  that 
larger  life  and  broader  outlook  which  is  common 
among  a  people  who  have  thrown  off  the  chains 
of  ecclesiasticism. 

But  what  about  Ireland  as  a  whole  ?  We  must 
remember  that  in  the  Emerald  Isle  we  have  two 
distinct  races,  having  two  religions,  and  governed 
by  different  forces.  It  would  be  madness  to  legislate 
for  one  quarter  of  the  people,  however  worthy  and 


whatever  noble  qualities  they  may  possess,  and 
leave  the  other  three-fourths  in  a  state  of  discontent 
to  be  governed  by  the  same  decadent  influences. 
Numerically  speaking,  that  would  be  a  repetition  of 
the  old  figure  of  the  tail  wagging  the  dog.  As  a 
consequence,  if  Ireland  be  refused  her  demand  for 
self-government,  there  would  be  a  great  outcry  among 
the  Catholics  of  the  South.  Old  wounds  would  be 
opened,  old  enmities  revived,  and  the  old  discontent 
intensified.  It  is  useless  to  say  that  Ireland  as  a 
whole,  (of  course  excepting  a  part  of  Ulster,)  does  not 
desire  Home  Rule.  I  was  told  by  those  who  opposed 
any  change  in  the  Government  of  Ireland  that  the 
farmers  who  had  bought  their  land  no  longer  desired 
self-government  for  Ireland.  It  may  be  so  in  a 
certain  number  of  cases.  I  cannot  say.  This  I 
know.  Every  farmer  to  whom  I  spoke,  and  I  had 
interviews  with  several,  were  all  eager  for  Home 
Rule.  I  remember  one  especially,  a  really  good 
specimen  of  the  peasant  farmer,  who  had  been  able 
to  buy  his  land  under  the  Wyndham  Land  Act. 
He  farmed  something  about  sixty  acres,  and  told  me 
that  while  he  could  barely  make  a  living  in  the  old 
days  of  landlordism,  he  now  managed  comfortably. 
He  had  also  become  a  member  of  the  County  Council, 
and  took  an  intelligent  interest  in  the  affairs  of  his 
district.  From  the  standpoint  of  worldly  affairs, 
therefore,  he  was  comfortably  situated,  and  belonged 
to  that  class,  which  is  spoken  of  as  having  changed 

172    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

its  views,  and  as  desiring  no  longer  Home  Government 
for  Ireland. 

"  Do  you  still  want  Home  Rule  ?  "  I  asked. 

"  I  believe  in  it  more  strongly  than  ever,"  was 
his  reply. 

"  Do  your  feelings  on  the  matter  represent  those 
of  men  situated  as  you  are,  or  do  you  stand  alone  ?  " 

'  There  may  be  other  farmers  situated  as  I  am 
who  do  not  want  Home  Rule,"  he  replied,  "  but  if 
there  are,  they  are  very  rare  around  here.  I  know 
of  none." 

"  And  why  do  you  desire  it  ?  " 

"  Because  we  are  Irishmen,  and  because  we  want 
to  govern  our  country  according  to  Irish  ideas.  We 
feel  now  that  Ireland  is  governed  by  men  who 
don't  understand  us,  who  are  out  of  sympathy  with 
the  things  which  are  dearest  to  us.  We  as  a  nation 
are  as  old  as  you  are,  and  we  want  to  feel  that 
Ireland  is  governed  by  Irish  people.  There  is  only 
one  Ireland  for  us,  you  know,  sir.  We  want,  as  you 
may  say,  to  work  out  our  own  salvation." 

"  And  suppose  Home  Rule  is  not  granted  ?  " 

'  Then,  sir,"  and  the  man's  eyes  hardened, 
"  there'll  be  all  the  old  troubles.  There'll  be  rioting 
and  outrage  and  misery.  You'll  never  have  any 
peace,  you  can't  have  while  Ireland  is  governed  from 

"  But  you  don't  mean  that  things  will  be  as  bad 
as  they  were,  say,  in  the  'eighties  ?  " 


"  I  don't  say  that  quite,  but  there'll  be  terrible 
doings.  The  people  are  set  upon  it.  Home  Govern- 
ment is  our  right,  sir,  our  right,  and  if  we  don't 

have  it  now,  then "  and  the  man  looked  away 

towards  a  miserable  cluster  of  mud  huts,  as  though 
he  were  picturing  what  the  peasants  there  would  do. 

This  man,  as  I  was  convinced,  expressed  the  feel- 
ings of  the  people  in  the  South  and  the  West  of 
Ireland,  and  as  I  reflected  on  Ireland's  past  history, 
I  realised  that  Ireland  would  not  be  a  pleasant  place 
to  live  in,  especially  for  those  who  had  opposed  the 
national  sentiments,  if  Home  Rule  were  not  given. 

But  to  return  to  the  question  which  I  have  all 
along  kept  in  mind  in  writing  these  pages ;  Ireland 
would  still  remain  under  Rome  Rule,  and  the 
rejection  of  the  people's  claims  would  mean  the 
strengthening  of  Rome's  claims.  As  I  have  insisted 
all  along,  Ireland  is  under  Rome  Rule  now,  and  if 
Ireland  is  disappointed  in  her  hopes,  she  would  be 
more  under  Rome  Rule  than  ever. 

Protestants  in  Ireland  complain,  and  justly  com- 
plain, of  the  power  that  the  Roman  hierarchy  has 
in  the  country.  In  all  vital  matters,  such  as  educa- 
tion, the  Church  is  practically  supreme.  Fancy 
6,000  schools .  under  the  absolute  control  of  the 
priests  !  Fancy  more  than  7,000  teachers  whose 
whole  professional  career  is  at  the  mercy  of  men 
who  contribute  nothing  to  their  maintenance.  Fancy 
five  training  colleges,  supported  by  the  State,  under 

174    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

the  complete  control  of  the  priests  !  Fancy  the 
Church  dictating  to  the  Government  what  she  will 
have,  and  what  she  will  not  have  !  Fancy  Cardinal 
Logue  laughing  at  the  Government's  "  safeguards  " 
in  relation  to  the  Universities  Act,  and  telling  the 
people  that  the  Church  will  see  to  it  that,  in  spite 
of  all  English  Nonconformists  can  do,  moneys 
voted  for  undenominational  purposes  shall  be 
devoted  to  Catholic  uses  !  For  that  is  what  his 
boast  meant.  Fancy  Maynooth  College,  after  having 
received  a  huge  sum  towards  its  building,  receiving 
between  £20,000  and  £30,000  a  year  for  the  training 
of  Roman  Catholic  priests  !  Yet  all  this  and  much 
more  goes  on  under  the  existing  state  of  things, 
and  would  continue  if  self-government  is  not  granted. 

I  do  not  believe  that  the  Church  as  a  Church 
desires  Home  Rule.  It  is  far  better  off  as  it  is. 
Under  no  Home  Government  could  she  rule  so 
completely,  so  absolutely,  as  she  rules  now.  Under 
no  form  of  self-government  could  she  dictate  her 
will  as  she  dictates  it  now.  And  this  rule  would 
continue,  and  in  all  probability  be  strengthened,  if  the 
hopes  of  Home  Rule  were  dashed  to  the  ground. 

This  also  would  follow.  The  Church  would  make 
it  appear  to  the  people  that  she  sided  with  them. 
As  I  have  said  in  an  earlier  chapter,  the  Church  is 
playing  a  waiting  game.  She  is  not,  as  a  Church, 
expressing  herself  openly  in  this  matter.  Which- 
ever way  the  scale  turns,  she  means  to  win,  but  she 


will  have  a  far  greater  chance  of  strengthening  her 
power  if  Home  Rule  is  not  granted.  She  will 
make  it  appear  to  the  people  that  she  has  been  all 
along  on  their  side,  and  that  she  grieved  that  a 
Protestant  Government  refused  their  just  demands. 
The  Irish  peasant,  for  his  part,  betrayed  by  the  very 
Protestants  who  should  stand  for  liberty  and  freedom, 
will  turn  back  to  his  Roman  champion  with  renewed 
faith  and  confirmed  loyalty. 

If  I  read  the  case  aright,  moreover,  it  would 
revive  all  the  old  bitterness  between  Protestant  and 
Romanist.  For  to-day  in  Ireland  the  division  of 
parties  may  be  roughly  divided  into  two  camps. 
Protestant  and  Unionist  on  the  one  hand,  against 
Romanist  and  Nationalist  on  the  other.  And  the 
Irish  peasant  would  be  led  to  confuse  Protestantism 
with  Unionism,  and  would  thus  look  on  the  Protes- 
tant as  his  natural  enemy.  If  I  know  the  Roman 
Church  aright,  moreover,  she  would  encourage  the 
thought,  and  thus,  whatever  friendliness  has  existed 
in  the  past,  would  be  largely  destroyed. 

In  this  way,  because  the  people  were  more  than 
ever  drawn  to  the  Church,  which  they  would  regard 
as  their  great  friend,  Rome  Rule  would  be  stronger 
than  ever,  the  people  would  be  more  than  ever 
under  her  control.  And  this  would  work  out  in  a 
terrible  way  for  the  Irish  people.  Light  would  be 
kept  out,  liberty  of  opinion  forbidden,  and  the 
Irish  as  a  race  would  be  debarred  from  entering 

176        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

into  that  promised  land  of  freedom,  and  light,  and 
responsibility  which  alone  can  make  a  people  strong 
and  great. 

Ireland  would  still  be  the  open  sore  of  British 
politics,  while  the  natural  and  legitimate  business 
of  our  British  Parliament  would  be  congested,  and 
made  almost  impossible  by  the  eighty  Nationalist 
members  who  would  in  all  probability  hold  the 
balance  of  power  between  the  two  parties.  Of  this 
I  think  there  can  be  no  doubt,  and  I  do  not  envy 
the  position  of  any  Prime  Minister  in  the  House  of 
Commons,  be  he  Liberal  or  Conservative,  who  tries 
to  conduct  the  business  of  State,  while  eighty  dis- 
appointed and  angry  Nationalists,  seek  to  give  vent 
to  their  feelings. 

Added  to  this,  those  eighty  Nationalists  will  seek 
to  advance  the  interests  of  the  Roman  Church  in 
England,  and  make  anything  like  a  just  settlement 
of  our  own  ecclesiastical  questions  impossible.  Our 
education  anomalies  will  still  remain,  while  the 
Nationalist  votes  will  make  Dr.  Clifford's  famous 
phrase  "  Rome  on  the  Rates,"  more  than  ever  a 

All  this  we  must  face  and  more ;  but  the  chief 
thing  that  troubles  me  is  that  three-fourths  of  the 
people  of  Ireland  will  remain  in  the  thraldom  of 
Rome.  The  forces  which  would  have  caused  the 
life-blood  of  religious  freedom  to  flow  through 
their  veins  will  not  be  liberated,  while  the  old 


numbing,  paralysing  influences  of  priestly  authority 
will  still  exert  their  influence  over  the  minds  and 
souls  of  the  people.  They  may  hear  the  cry  "  Come 
forth,"  but  the  stone  will  not  be  rolled  away  from 
the  tomb,  and  even  if  it  were  their  grave  clothes 
will  bind  them  fast. 

I  do  not  say  that  Ireland's  regeneration  will  never 
come.  A  people  intelligent  by  nature  cannot  for 
ever  be  kept  in  darkness.  "  The  schoolmaster  is 
abroad,"  even  although  it  be  the  priests'  schoolmaster, 
and  a  free  press,  even  such  as  exists  in  Roman  Catholic 
Ireland,  facilities  for  travel,  and  the  general  dissemi- 
nation of  ideas,  must  slowly  filter  their  way  into 
Ireland.  But  it  will  be  very  slow.  The  clock  of 
Irish  life  will  be  very  nearly  at  a  standstill,  even  if  it 
be  not  put  back  for  many  years.  Rome  Rule  will 
be  the  condition  of  Ireland  far  longer  than  it  need 
to  be,  and  subsequent  history  will  proclaim  to  the 
British  Government,  "  If  thou  hadst  known  even  in 
thy  day  the  things  that  belonged  to  thy  peace. 
Behold,  your  house  is  left  unto  you  desolate." 

And  now  let  us  look  at  the  other  side  of  the 
question.  Suppose  Ireland  were  granted  self- 
government  ?  Suppose  that  this  Nationalist  senti- 
ment, which  has  existed  so  long,  and  been  so  strong 
in  the  Irish  heart,  were  fulfilled  ? 

If  all  history  has  not  been  a  lie,  the  mind  of 
Ireland  would  be  awakened  from  its  long  sleep. 
Direct  responsibility  for  the  affairs  of  their  own 


i;8    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

country  would  quicken  into  life  potentialities  and 
powers  lying  dormant.  That  sense  of  responsibility, 
moreover,  would  give  the  Irishman  new  ideas  of  life, 
and  finally  lead  him  to  throw  off  the  shackles  by 
which  he  has  been  so  long  bound. 

As  George  Bernard  Shaw  says,  in  view  of  Home 
Rule  becoming  law,  "  the  Roman  Catholic  Church — 
against  which  Dublin  Castle  is  powerless — would 
meet  with  the  one  force  that  can  cope  with  it 
victoriously.  That  force  is  democracy." 

At  least,  it  would  be  a  positive  policy.  As  I  have 
said,  the  Ulster  policy  is  purely  negative.  Under  it 
all  the  old  discontent  and  all  the  old  trouble  would 
remain.  Nothing  would  be  done  to  satisfy  the 
longings  of  the  people's  hearts  ;  nothing  to  meet 
the  national  sentiment.  But  if  Home  Rule  were 
passed,  at  least  an  endeavour  would  be  made  to  give 
them  what  they  desire.  It  is  possible  that  mistakes 
may  be  made  in  that  new  Bill ;  but  he  who  never 
makes  mistakes  never  makes  anything.  As  a  con- 
sequence, the  feeling  that  England  refuses  to  listen 
to  their  cry  would  no  longer  have  a  meaning  and  in 
that  respect,  at  all  events,  their  grievance  would  be 
taken  away. 

But  what  about  Ulster  ?  All  along,  the  great 
difficulty  that  stands  in  the  way  of  Irish  Home 
Rule  has  been  this  province  of  the  North.  No  doubt 
Ulster  has  a  strong  case,  and  I  would  be  the  very  last 
to  minimise  it.  We  have  to  meet  the  question — 


"  Shall  we  make  Ulster  discontented  that  the  rest 
may  be  contented  ?  "  We  cannot  ignore  such  a 
Convention  as  was  held  in  Belfast  early  in  February. 
We  cannot  afford  to  close  our  eyes  to  the  fact  that 
perhaps  the  strongest  and  most  influential  body  of 
people  in  Ireland,  represented  by  50,000  men, 
uttered  their  protest — a  protest  that  was  strong  and 
grim  and  determined. 

Sir  William  Crawford,  who  is  not  given  to  speak 
lightly,  the  head  of  the  greatest  linen  manufactory 
in  the  world,  the  employer  of  many  thousands  of 
people,  expressed  their  feelings  in  no  uncertain 
terms.  "  Fellow  Presbyterians/'  he  said,  "we  are 
here  to  pledge  ourselves  to  do  our  part  in  this 
momentous  crisis.  I  have  no  doubt  that  when  the 
proposals  of  the  Cabinet — now  a  dark  secret — are 
revealed,  they  will  be  interleaved  with  paper 
guarantees  and  safeguards.  I  have  no  doubt  that 
we  shall  have  promises  of  freedom  and  toleration  for 
all  men  from  Nationalist  leaders — leaders  whose 
words  were  threats  not  long  ago,  and  who  are  them- 
selves at  the  mercy  of  forces  they  could  not  control 
for  a  single  year.  Let  none  of  these  guarantees  or 
promises  deceive  you.  A  Dublin  Parliament  we 
will  not  have..  Its  laws  we  will  not  obey.  Its 
demands  for  money  we  will  throw  into  the  fire. 
Our  Nationalist  countrymen  may,  if  they  so  desire, 
establish  their  claim  to  manage  their  own  affairs — 
they  will  not  manage  ours.  Let  an  Irish  Govern- 

180    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

ment  be  formed.  Let  it  send  its  officers  here  to 
take  taxes  by  force :  we  will  not  pay.  Our  decision 
is  final  and  unchanging.  We  trust  in  the  God  of  our 
fathers  and  our  duty  is  clear." 

Words  like  these,  I  say,  and  from  such  a  man, 
cannot  be  ignored ;  and,  undoubtedly,  Sir  William 
Crawford  and  those  who  think  with  him,  have 
grounds  for  their  fears.  As  I  have  repeatedly  urged, 
the  Roman  Catholic  Church  would  undoubtedly  seek 
to  take  advantage  of  the  new  conditions.  Past 
history  has  shewn  us  what  that  Church  desires. 
Losing  power  in  almost  every  country  in  the  world, 
it  will  seek  to  strengthen  it  in  these  British  Isles. 
Therefore,  the  Ulster  claim  must  be  met.  Personally, 
I  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  Home  Rule — except 
to  fight  it — if  I  thought  Protestantism  would  event- 
ually suffer  from  the  change.  But  surely  the  British 
Parliament  can  do  what  is  necessary  ?  Ulster  does 
not  complain  so  much  of  existing  laws,  and  its 
people  seem  to  regard  the  provisions  of  those  laws  as 
sufficient  to  safeguard  them. 

Therefore,  before  any  Home  Rule  Bill  is  passed, 
there  must  be  laws  making  it  impossible  for  a 
Dublin  Parliament  to  interfere  with  their  existing 
rights.  All  their  marriage  laws  must  be  regarded 
as  sacred ;  and  there  must  be  no  possibility  of  any 
Dublin  Parliament  acceding  to  the  demands  of  the 
Roman  Church  by  interfering  with  them.  Their 
position  in  relation  to  education  must  not  be 


weakened.  At  present  they  at  least  have  control 
over  the  education  of  Protestants.  That  control 
must  be  safeguarded  by  the  most  stringent  Acts 
of  Parliament. 

Undoubtedly  the  Roman  Church  has  its  eye  upon 
ecclesiastical  property  once  held  by  that  communion, 
but  which,  in  the  course  of  events,  has  passed  over 
to  the  Protestant  Church.  Long  association,  and 
many  years  of  possession,  have  led  them  to  regard 
that  ecclesiastical  property  as  inviolably  theirs. 
Again,  laws  must  be  passed  that  no  interference 
with  that  property  shall  be  made  possible. 

In  the  speech  from  which  I  have  quoted,  Sir 
William  Crawford  refers  to  dangers  to  industrial 
life  which  will,  he  says,  undoubtedly  be  the  outcome 
of  Home  Rule.  Every  danger  to  industrial  progress 
must  be  made  impossible  as  far  as  laws  can 
accomplish  this. 

Sympathising  with  Ulster  as  I  do,  respecting 
and  admiring  its  strong,  stalwart,  loyal  people, 
as  any  one  must  who  has  learnt  to  know  them,  I 
feel  we  can  do  no  other.  That  people,  which  has  made 
the  North  of  Ireland  a  green  spot  in  a  commercial 
desert,  cannot  be  disregarded.  And  so  I  say  that 
it  would  be  criminal  for  any  Government  to  attempt 
to  deal  with  this  question  unless  by  every  power 
represented  by  an  Act  of  Parliament  it  made  them 
feel  that  their  fears  of  the  coming  change  are 

182    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

But  some  one  will  say — "  What  is  the  use  of 
safeguards  when  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  takes 
no  note  of  safeguards  ?  Having  the  Dublin  Parlia- 
ment under  its  control,  it  would  laugh  at  them — 
even  as  it  has  laughed  at  other  safeguards."  But, 
surely,  the  objection  is  not  valid.  Even  under 
Home  Rule,  Ireland  would  be  a  part  of  the  British 
Empire ;  Ireland  would  be  closely  associated  with 
our  home  life.  The  Imperial  Parliament  would 
always  remain  as  their  strong  fortress.  Besides,  if 
safeguards  are  of  no  use,  of  what  use  are  existing 
laws  ?  The  ultimate  strength  of  any  law  resides 
in  the  power  behind  it — the  Imperial  Parliament. 
Indeed,  I  do  not  see,  realising  that  the  power 
of  Great  Britain  is  ever  behind  them  to  protect  and 
succour  them,  why  they  need  fear  for  their  future 
under  Home  Rule  more  than  now.  The  laws  of 
the  realm  would  still  remain  ;  and  if  such  rigorous 
provisions  were  made  for  their  safety  as  I  have 
suggested,  they  could  defy  the  Roman  Church  to 
do  its  worst,  as  much  as,  if  not  more  than,  they 
have  been  enabled  to  do  in  the  past. 

But,  more  than  this,  I  do  not  believe  Ulster  would 
suffer.  It  will  be  remembered  that,  when  Mr. 
Gladstone  brought  in  his  Bill  for  the  disestablish- 
ment of  the  Irish  Church,  that  Bill  was  protested 
against  as  strongly  as  a  Home  Rule  Bill  is  being 
protested  against  to-day.  It  was  urged  that,  if 
the  Irish  Church  were  disestablished,  Rome  would 


crush  Protestantism  out  of  the  land.  The  Episcopal 
Church  painted  all  sorts  of  dark  pictures  of  the 
future  of  religion  if  the  Episcopal  Church  ceased 
to  be  the  State  Church  of  Ireland.  But  what  has 
happened  ?  After  half  a  century  has  passed  away 
those  fears  have  been  shewn  to  be  groundless. 
Instead  of  Protestantism  losing  ground,  it  has 
gained.  Protestantism  was  never  so  strong  in 
Ireland  as  it  is  to-day — never  so  strong  in  numbers, 
in  wealth,  in  position,  in  power,  if  we  consider  the 
population,  as  a  whole. 

If  our  Protestantism  is  real,  we  need  not  be 
afraid  for  it.  It  stands  upon  the  foundation  of 
truth,  and  while  we  are  faithful  we  can  defy  the 
inroads  of  Romanism.  It  has  ever  been  the  case 
that  a  possible  danger  to  Protestantism  has  drawn 
the  faithful  more  closely  together ;  it  has  meant 
renewed  energy,  greater  devotion,  and  hence  the 
forward  march  of  the  truth. 

Think,  for  example,  of  the  growth  of  Noncon- 
formity in  England.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
nineteenth  century  it  was  only  a  small  fragment 
of  the  population.  At  the  close  of  the  century  it 
was  more  than  fifty  per  cent,  of  the  population  ! 
And  yet  it  suffered  under  all  sorts  of  indignities  and 
difficulties.  Nonconformists  were  looked  upon  as 
interlopers,  and  were  seemingly  regarded  as  having 
no  right  to  existence.  They  were  unjustly  taxed. 
They  were  in  apparent  danger  of  being  crushed  out 

184    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

by  a  privileged  State  Church.  They  were  not 
allowed  to  marry  their  people  or  to  bury  their 
dead.  It  was  demanded  of  them  that  they  should 
support  the  State  Church  and  at  the  same  time 
maintain  their  own.  Their  people  were  poor  and 
almost  all  their  income  came  from  the  pockets 
of  the  working  classes.  Yet,  so  strong  is  the  power 
of  truth,  that  they  became  mighty,  and  to-day 
they  form  more  than  one-half  of  the  worshipping 
community  of  Great  Britain.  Why,  then,  need 
Protestantism  fear  in  Ireland  ?  The  Protestants 
form  one  million  out  of  the  four  millions  of  the 
population ;  and  it  is  readily  conceded  that  that 
million  contains  the  intelligence,  the  personal  force, 
the  wealth,  and,  to  a  very  large  extent,  the  leading 
minds  in  Ireland.  Is  it  likely,  then,  that  this  one 
million,  possessing  such  powers  and  occupying  such 
positions,  would  be  swept  away  before  the  other 
three  millions,  who,  although  three  to  one  in  number, 
are,  for  the  most  part,  ignorant,  unenlightened,  and 
subservient  to  the  will  of  the  priest  ?  Have 
Protestants  no  faith  in  their  principles  ?  Do  they 
not  believe  in  the  power  of  truth — even  although 
a  Dublin  Parliament  legislated  for  them  ? 

On  the  other  hand,  if  what  I  have  said  in  previous 
chapters  is  true,  if  the  new  responsibility,  the 
enlightenment,  and  the  strength  of  character  which 
is  sure  to  come  through  responsibility,  break  the 
shackles  which  have  bound  the  Roman  Catholics 


for  so  long  and  make  them  a  free  people,  will  not 
their  position  be  far  better  than  under  the  numbing 
and  paralysing  influences  of  a  mediaeval  Church  ? 

I  cannot,  in  dealing  with  this  subject,  refrain 
from  looking  at  an  aspect  of  the  question  which  has 
no  direct  bearing  upon  my  subject.  I  stated  at  the 
outset  that  I  was  not  going  to  deal  with  questions 
other  than  the  one  which  gives  the  title  to  this 
little  book.  At  the  same  time,  it  was  so  often  urged 
upon  me  that  Home  Rule  would  destroy  the 
industry  of  Ulster  that  I  cannot  help  looking  at  it 
for  a  moment.  It  was  repeatedly  stated,  while 
I  was  in  the  North  of  Ireland,  that  a  Dublin  Parlia- 
ment would  mean  two  things.  First,  it  would 
mean  that  an  endeavour  would  be  made  to  tax 
Protestants  of  Ulster  out  of  existence ;  and, 
secondly,  that  Home  Rule  would  bring  about  such 
a  state  of  things  as  would  make  it  impossible  for 
Ulster  to  retain  her  great  industrial  position. 

Look  at  those  two  points.  First,  would  it  be  likely 
that  a  Dublin  Parliament  would  try  to  tax  Ulster 
out  of  existence  ?  That  Parliament  would  know 
that  a  large  bulk  of  its  revenues — the  revenues  on 
which  it  would  depend  for  the  maintenance  of  the 
country — must  come  from  Ulster.  It  is  there  that 
its  trade  chiefly  exists.  The  rest  of  Ireland  is,  in 
the  main,  agricultural ;  and  save  for  its  distilleries 
and  breweries,  there  are  practically  no  other  means  of 
industry.  It  is  from  Ulster  that  its  revenues  must 

186    IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

largely  come.  Is  it  likely  that  a  Dublin  Parliament 
would  seek  to  "  kill  the  goose  that  lays  the  golden 
egg "  ?  Even  suppose  the  Nationalist  members 
had  complete  control  over  that  new  Parliament, 
they  would  know  that  the  eyes  of  the  world  would 
be  upon  them,  and  they  dare  not,  for  their  own  sakes, 
do  anything  that  would  jeopardise  their  position. 

But  this  is  not  all.  How  has  the  trade  of  Ulster 
been  built  up  ?  I  shall  never  forget  my  visit  to  the 
renowned  York  Street  linen  mills.  It  is,  I  suppose, 
the  greatest  linen  factory  in  the  world.  As  some  one 
has  said,  "  It  clothes  England  in  fine  linen."  It 
employs  between  five  and  six  thousand  people.  To 
go  through  its  many  departments  and  watch  how 
the  flax  becomes  the  linen  that  decorates  our  tables, 
makes  one  wonder.  What  the  turnover  in  capital 
of  this  great  industry  may  be,  I  have  no  knowledge. 
But  when  one  of  its  largest  owners  said  to  me, 
'  This  would  be  all  destroyed  under  Home  Rule," 
I  could  not  help  thinking  that  the  statement  was 
utterly  groundless.  "  What,"  I  asked,  "  has  built 
up  this  mighty  enterprise  ?  What  has  made  the 
whole  of  Belfast  so  prosperous  ?  "  While  the  city 
of  Cork  has  remained  in  poverty  and  its  population 
stationary,  Belfast  has  sprung  from  obscurity  to 
greatness.  What  has  made  the  city  great  ?  What 
has  built  up  the  huge  industries  of  this  city  of  the 
North  ?  It  has  been  the  character  of  the  people. 
The  Ulster  people  boast  that  while  the  linen 


industries  were  destroyed  in  the  other  parts  of  the 
world,  they  kept  it  alive  in  Belfast—and  they  did 
it  by  their  strength  of  will,  by  their  foresight,  by 
their  enterprise,  and  by  their  integrity  of  character. 
Nothing  else  could  have  made  Belfast  great  or 
Ulster  prosperous. 

As  I  walked  through  the  various. departments  of 
those  great  works,  I  was  informed  that  nearly 
all  the  products  were  sent  abroad.  The  trade  of 
Belfast  is,  in  the  main,  an  export  trade.  Contracts 
for  years  ahead  are  made — both  for  buying  and  for 
selling.  Now,  then,  suppose  Home  Rule  were  to  pass. 
Suppose,  even,  that  trade  for  a  time  were  to  be 
affected.  Would  the  men  who  made  the  industries 
of  the  North  allow  all  they  have  done  in  the  past 
to  be  destroyed  ?  Would  they  nullify  all  the  con- 
tracts they  have  made  ?  Would  all  these  vast 
schemes  come  to  nought  ?  It  is  unthinkable. 
The  force  of  character  for  which  Ulster  is  so  notable 
would  remain,  and  the  prosperity  of  Ulster  would 
remain,  too,  as  a  consequence. 

But  more  than  this.  Would  it  not  also  mean 
an  increase  of  trade  ?  As  I  have  said,  at  present 
nearly  all  the  Ulster  goods  are  exported.  The 
Irish  people  cannot  afford  to  buy  what  they  manu- 
facture. The  South  of  Ireland  is  poverty-stricken. 
But  under  the  new  conditions,  with  a  re-awakened 
peasantry,  with  a  sense  of  responsibility  such  as 
they  never  had  before,  with  a  new  spirit  working 

i88        IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

in  the  lives  of  the  people,  we  should  have  a  new 
prosperity.  There  is  no  reason  why  the  South 
and  the  West  of  Ireland  should  for  ever  remain  in 
poverty.  The  Irish  people  have  done  well  in  other 
lands.  In  America  they  have  risen  to  wealth  and 
eminence  and  taken  prominent  places  in  the  life 
of  that  great  Republic.  Why  is  it  ?  It  is  universally 
agreed  that  when  they  have  left  the  atmosphere  of 
superstition  and  oppression  they  have  become  the 
men  God  intended  them  to  be.  The  power  of  Rome 
has  killed  the  enterprise  of  the  Roman  Catholics  of 
Ireland ;  give  them  a  sense  of  responsibility,  give 
them  the  enlightenment  which  must  surely  come 
through  self-government,  and  it  will  quicken  their 
pulses  and  stir  them  to  work  out  their  own  salvation. 
Thus,  a  richer  South  and  West  of  Ireland  would 
mean  new  markets  for  the  North ;  and,  instead 
of  Home  Rule  being  a  source  of  weakness  to  Ulster, 
it  may  become  a  strength. 

But  this,  by  the  way.  And  I  crave  pardon  for 
attempting  to  touch  on  a  subject — not  only  outside 
the  question  discussed  in  this  book,  but  outside  my 
own  domain.  In  looking  back  over  what  I  have 
written,  and  again  asking  the  question,  "  Does 
Home  Rule  mean  Rome  Rule  ?  "  the  answer  comes 
in  no  uncertain  way.  I  begun  to  study  this  subject, 
feeling  that  the  cry  of  Ulster  was  right.  That  to 
give  self-government  to  Ireland  would  be  to  place 
that  unhappy  country  more  than  ever  under  the 


dominion  of  Rome.  But  now,  after  having  read 
much  literature  (more  against  Home  Rule  than  for 
it) ;  after  having  talked  with  many  Irish  people 
(more  Unionists  than  Home  Rulers),  I  am  con- 
vinced that  self-government  is  the  one  power 
which  will  break  the  tyranny  of  Rome.  All  history 
supports  that  conviction.  Cardinal  Manning  said 
"  that  the  true  government  of  Ireland  is  in  the 
bishops  and  the  priests."  That  government  must 
ever  mean — as  it  has  ever  meant — decadence, 
corruption,  and  ruin.  And  the  only  power  which 
can  destroy  the  tyranny  of  clerical  control  is  the 
power  of  an  enlightened  and  responsible  democracy. 
I  have  tried  to  think  of  Ireland  as  a  whole,  and  not 
of  one  part  of  it  only,  and  I  have  tried  to  understand 
the  dangers  of  self-government  both  to  the  North  and 
to  the  South.  I  hope  I  have  done  justice  to  the 
Ulster  position ;  if  I  have  not,  it  is  my  misfortune 
and  not  my  intention.  I  can  quite  understand  its 
fears.  Possibly,  probably,  Ulster,  under  Home  Rule, 
would  for  a  time  be  in  the  wilderness  as  far  as  public 
representation  is  concerned,  as  has  already  happened 
in  regard  to  the  County  and  District  Councils, 
but  only  for  a  time.  Probably,  too,  the  Church  of 
Rome  will  use  all  her  influence,  and  it  is  tremendous, 
to  unprotestantise  the  North.  It  is  her  policy  to 
do  so.  But  the  Protestants  of  Ireland  are  not 
weaklings,  and  they  will  be  like  adamant  in  the 
face  of  encroaching  forces.  Ere  long,  too,  they  will 


assert  their  true  position.  The  power  of  a  narrow 
ecclesiasticism  is  dying.  It  is  doomed  to  die. 
Strength,  virility,  integrity,  enterprise,  and  a  mighty 
faith  in  the  principles  which  have  made  Ulster 
great  in  the  past,  will  be  its  strength  in  the  future. 
That  which  has  made  Protestantism  such  a  power, 
since  Luther's  mighty  voice  shook  the  world,  still 
abides.  Belfast  and  Londonderry  and  the  towns 
and  villages  of  Protestant  Ireland  need  not  fear,  for 
there  be  more  for  them  than  against  them. 

But  it  is  not  alone  of  Ulster  that  I  am  thinking. 
"  Pat,"  in  an  article  he  has  just  contributed  to  the 
English  press,  says,  "  The  real  problem  is  to  restore 
the  use  of  their  wits  to  the  Irish  people.  We  want 
peasant  proprietorship  in  mental  freedom.  We 
want  self-governorship  for  the  peasant."  Exactly ; 
but  how  can  they  obtain  this  ?  I  have  tried  to 
shew  how. 

But  I  realise  the  danger  in  mental  freedom.  In 
other  Roman  Catholic  countries  it  has  meant  a 
period  of  revolt  against  organised  creeds.  It  seems 
as  though  agnosticism  were  the  inevitable  rebound 
from  a  rigid  ecclesiasticism.  But  the  price  of 
liberty  has  to  be  paid,  and  Ireland  is  bound  to 
obtain  her  liberty  ;  if  not  sooner,  then  later.  But 
the  revolt  against  iron-bound  creeds  need  not  be 
a  revolt  against  the  truth,  and  even  if  it  be,  the  truth 
will  be  finally  triumphant.  Besides,  there  can  never 
be  a  true  manhood  without  liberty,  never  a  great 


national  life  without  spiritual  freedom.  "  Where 
the  Spirit  of  the  Lord  is,  there  is  liberty."  With  this 
new-found  freedom  I  can  see  Ireland  standing  erect, 
instinct  with  new  life. 

"  It  is  a  tremendous  risk,"  some  one  will  urge. 
But  the  essence  of  life  is  risk ;  and  surely  the  hope 
of  making  a  nation  free  is  worth  the  risk !  I  ask 
the  Protestants  of  Ireland  to  think  of  this.  They 
have  become  great  and  strong  through  their  spiritual 
freedom  ;  will  they  not  risk  something  to  give  that 
freedom  to  their  Irish  brethren  ?  Already  there  is 
a  glow  in  the  Eastern  sky,  and  many  are  daring  to 
say,  "  The  morning  is  coming."  Shall  we  not  meet 
the  dawn  with  gladsome  hearts  ?  At  any  rate,  I 
cannot  believe  that  they  will  long  entertain  the 
fear  that  self-government  for  Ireland  will  mean  the 
continued  and  perhaps  the  increased  dominion  of 
Rome.  It  is  opposed  to  the  very  genius  of  their 
Protestant  faith.  Our  forefathers  were  not  afraid 
of  liberty,  liberty  to  all,  and  in  their  courage  they 
became  mighty,  and  left  to  us  the  heritage  that  is 
our  joy  and  our  crown.  Surely  this  is  the  great 
opportunity  of  Irish  Protestants.  It  is  theirs  to 
shew  that  they  do  not  fear  for  the  truth,  and  that 
their  faith  in  the  Gospel  for  which  their  fathers 
died  is  mightier  than  their  doubts.  Let  them  shew 
their  priest-bound  countrymen  that  they  at  least 
believe  in  a  living  Christianity,  the  essence  of  which 
is  justice  and  liberty  and  love, 

192         IS  HOME  RULE  ROME  RULE  ? 

I  am  sure,  too,  that  their  fears  are  groundless. 
The  movement  of  the  age  is  towards  the  breaking  of 
bonds,  and  setting  at  liberty  those  who  are  captive. 
And  Ireland,  which  has  been  bound  for  many  years, 
is  asking  for  freedom.  Perhaps  its  simple  people 
hardly  realise  how  that  freedom  will  work  out,  and 
none  of  us  know  altogether,  for  the  purposes  of  God 
are  unknown  to  men.  Be  that  as  it  may,  however, 
every  movement  towards  enlightenment,  towards 
progress,  and  towards  individual  responsibility, 
whether  civil  or  religious,  is  from  God,  and  augurs 
the  advance  of  the  people.  I  cannot  believe,  there- 
fore, that  Home  Rule  means  Rome  Rule;  on  the 
contrary,  I  firmly  believe  that  it  will  be  the  first 
step  in  the  way  of  freedom  from  the  bondage  of 
Rome.  It  will  break  the  shackles  of  the  past,  and 
usher  in  an  era  of  liberty.  And  in  my  heart  of 
hearts  is  the  conviction  that  it  will  prepare  the  way 
for  the  coming  of  the  Evangel,  for  which  Ireland 
has  so  long  waited. 




Cloth  gilt.     Illustrated.     3/6. 

JV/T  R.  HOCKING'S  novels  have  been  (by  the  Spectator)  corn- 
±  » -I  pared  to  Baring  Gould's,  and  by  other  Journals  to  those  of 
Thomas  Hardy,  Hall,  Caine,  and  Stanley  Weyman  ;  but  they  are, 
one  and  all,  stamped  with  striking  and  original  individuality.  Bold 
in  conception,  strenuously  high  and  earnest  in  purpose,  daring  itt 
thought,  picturesque  and  lifelike  in  description,  it  is  not  to,  be 
wondered  at  that  Mr.  HOCKING'S  novels  are  eagerly  a  waited /by  & 
great  and  ever-increasing  public. 





ISHMAEL    PENQELLY:    An    Outcast. 




ALL    MEN    ARE    LIARS. 








THE    COMING    OF    THE    KING. 



GOD    AND    MAMMON    (Just   Ready). 

WARD,     LOCK     &     CO.,     LIMITED, 


AUG  2  9  1972 



DA  Hocking,   Joseph 

960  Is  Home  rule  Rome  rule?